the HA? project

A +  t h e   H A ?   p r o j e c t   2 0 1 2 - ongoing
Dumaguete City, Philippines

C L I C K the I M A G E
V I E W the V I D E O

The Ha? Story

In 2008, Hersley-Ven Casero photographed his nephew laughing and published it on Internet entitled, Sound of Laughter.  Soon after the photograph was replicated and appeared all over the Internet without his permission.  In the extreme case, a Filipino artist falsely claimed that the boy in the picture was a cancer survivor!  Casero confronted the artist about the photograph.  The artist confessed to finding the image online, but did not give credit to Casero.  The artist promised to apologize to the boy's family and Casero for the misrepresentation the photograph - he has not yet apologized.

In 2012, Hersley-Ven Casero established the first Ha? project to reclaim his photograph by collaborating with random people to transform the negative experience to serve as a catalyst to inspire others to create art.  His goal for the Ha? Project and the Sound of Laughter is to flood the web with new versions of the Ha? portrait, co-owned with Ha? collaborators, to leave a timeless, virtual legacy.  Hersley-Ven Casero's Sound of Laughter photograph is the top search on google with nearly 400 versions created since 2012, and it continues to grow. His mission is to teach others about authenticity in the arts and spark the creativity in everyone.

Ha? is a question, an expression, and an answer. . . above all it’s a reflection. Ha?

Hersley's Story

Hersley-Ven Casero is an internationally respected and talented visual artist with an eye in photography and a hand in painting.  His works have been published in the LA Times and travel magazines including: Lonely Planet, We SEE It, and Smile magazine for Cebu Pacific airlines.  Casero is a resident artist and instructor at Foundation University, Philippines.  He instructs photography workshops in the Philippines, most notably the South Pacific Photo Workshop, alongside world-renowned photographers.  Growing up marginally poor in the Philippines, Casero has provided for his family, and the ability to build a new house through his artistic accomplishments.  Hersley Casero's life story is an honest and inspiring example of how art has provided financial support for his family and has created positive impact on the Filipino arts community.

The Ha? project supports the local and Filipino arts communities by inspiring others to create art.

Anna Koosmann (A+)'s version debuted at the VIVA EXCON BIENNIAL 2012, at Foundation University, Dumaguete City, Philippines.  Her work entitled, Laughing Son of Man, appropriates Magritte's famous painting, Son of Man, and was among 110 portraits in the show, from over 50 participating artists.   

Since then, Koosmann has teamed up with Hersley-Ven Casero to organize the Ha? project in other cities and art communities, including the largest on-the-spot art competition on Negros Island, held in Bais City, Philippines during the 21st National Arts Month exhibit.  Several black & white versions for Qube Gallery exhibited during the Primero Kongresso: Arte Biswal sa Kabisayaan Sentral in Cebu, Philippines, April 2013.   - Cover Photo Courtesy of Paul Benzi Florendo.  Additional Photos by Hersley and Benzi.

Anna Koosmann's first Ha? project painting created in 2012 for the VIVA EXCON Biennial at Foundation University, Dumaguete City, Philippines.  Collaborating with 30+ other artists to create 100 versions for this exhibit.  The paintings are owned and displayed at a private residence in Manila, Philippines.
Anna Koosmann's version Laughing Lotus created 2016 and displayed at Negret Wine Company Art Fair June 11 & 12 in Hudson, WI USA.
Co-organizing the largest on-the-spot art competition in Negros Oriental with Hersley Casero for the 21st Annual Arts Month, February 2013.

8 year old Mariel B. painted her version at the largest on the spot art competition in Bais City, Philippines for the 21st National Arts Month February 2013.  I liked this version so much I bought it for Php 500 ($10).

The following are a selection of portraits from the 21st Annual Arts Month competition.  127 participating artists created there versions of the Laughing Boy to make it a remarkable and fun-filled event.

Laughing Boy Master and Iconic Figures created and displayed at Qube Cebu, Philippines 2013.

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