Film "Enjoy Poverty" from Dutch artist Renzo Martens

Dutch artist and filmmaker Renzo Martens made the provocative film Enjoy Poverty, Episode III (2009). In the film Martens proposes to a group of Congolese photographers that they should take pictures of war corpses, raped women, and malnourished children--just as Western journalists do.

Martens's provocative position is that poverty is Africa's most important export product, and the poor should learn how to profit from it. ENJOY POVERTY PLEASE, reads the bright neon sign Martens shamelessly brings in to the remotest villages; it also serves as the title of the ninety-minute video he shot in the Democratic Republic of Congo. (source Arts Publication)

An interview with Martens

The interesting part is that Renzo Martens is also making money with his film, it kept him up and running for four years. When asked in an interview if he had shared the money with the poor people in Congo he replied that it was a "private" matter and not really relevant.

To be honest, I really don't know what to make of this film. Is it an eye opener, or is it just a cheap attempt of a filmmaker to exploit poverty?

Renzo Martens is exhibiting in the temporary program of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, which runs from 28 August 2010 – 9 January 2011.


  1. That made me feel very uncomfortable. And I'm not talking about colonial guilt.


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