This is the way to start the day! When I enter the Dahon restaurant at Salaya Beach Houses Resort for breakfast, I am greeted with a big grin. The same every morning. The little boy who shines at me so happily is the nephew of the Filipino artist Hersley-Ven Casero. It is based on a photo that he took in 2008 and published on the Internet. It wasn’t long before the image was distributed without permission. The most extreme case was that of another Filipino artist who boldly claimed that the boy in the picture had survived cancer and that he was the author of the picture!
In 2012 Casero decided to turn the negative experiences he had with the publication of the photo into a positive process. He called the first “Ha?” Project into life and asked various people to modify the picture titled “The Sound of Laughter”, to reinterpret it and to flood the internet with replicas. The mission was to raise people’s awareness of the authenticity of art. The artist now heads the creative department and teaches “Fine Arts” at the Foundation University in the Philippines.
The owners of the resort decided to purchase one of the originals and put it on display at the restaurant. The various reinterpretations also quickly found a place, so that the room was increasingly transformed into a small, cozy Art Café.
And so I’m surrounded by countless laughing Filipino boys every morning, sometimes with headphones on the ears, sometimes disguised as Darth Vader or Superman. If you like, you can purchase the smaller format (3,500 PHP) and take home a really original memory of your dream vacation at the Salaya Beach Houses. The revenue is shared between the resort and the art project. The original painting, which occupies the prominent position behind the bar, of course remains in the resort.
More information about the project is available at www.hersleycasero.com