Beggars may not be choosers but they can take part in a controversial art exhibition.
A storm of protest has been unleashed in Sweden after two Roma beggars were asked to sit in silence with a paper cup in front of them as part of an art installation, reports The Local.
The beggars have been paid to take part in the show, in Malmo, southern Sweden, but are not allowed to talk to any gallery visitors.
Luca Lacatus and Marcella Cheresi were spotted begging on Malmo’s streets when they were asked to take part.
Critics claim the pair — who will earn around $ 600 — are being used and exploited.
“I had very high expectations but when I entered the room, it felt like an ethnological exhibition, where black bodies had been replaced by poor bodies,” said artist Ioana Cojocariu.
Organizers admit the exhibition is on a “touchy subject” but said people should see the exhibition for themselves before they make their minds up.
Lacatus and Cheresi said they did not mind taking part as they are already looked at in the streets and the money would help them “buy enough bricks to build two rooms”.
The issue is particularly sensitive in Sweden at the moment, reports The Local, as thousands of beggars have arrived in the country from Romania in recent years.