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Textiles

October 3rd, 2012

Benin Smallholder Farmers Rub Shoulders with International Stars as Cotton made in Africa exhibition opens

Albert Watson: Visions feat. Cotton made in Africa exhibition opens

The Deichtorhallen Hamburg opened the Albert Watson: Visions feat. Cotton made in Africa exhibition in the House of Photography. At its heart are 36 large format photographs taken in Benin that portray the smallholder farmers who work with the Cotton made in Africa initiative and their living environment. The show also includes numerous other photographs taken by legendary photographer Albert Watson of such reknown stars as Mick Jagger, Kate Moss and Clint Eastwood.

The Albert Watson: Visions feat. Cotton made in Africa exhibition will be held from 14 September 2012 to 6 January 2013 in the House of Photography at the Deichtorhallen Hamburg. The exhibit consists of two parts: Albert Watson’s newly created photographs of Benin from December 2011 comprise its heart. They depict smallholder farmers who work with the Cotton made in Africa initiative and their living environments in order to visualize the social effects of the initiative. The accompanying exhibition will show never before published vintage and Polaroid works from the famed fashion and commercial photographer. Besides two of the Cotton made in Africa retail partners, OTTO and Tom Tailor, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) is another important sponsor of the project.

Well over 800 guests came to celebrate the photographer and his new show. Watson himself was there, as were numerous representatives from Africa who were in the city attending the Aid by Trade Foundation Stakeholder Conference held the same weekend. Among them was cotton farmer Yaya Arouna who travelled to Hamburg to see for himself where his portrait was placed in the exhibition.

Cotton made in Africa is an Initiative of the Aid by Trade Foundation that helps people help themselves through trade. The initiative aims at sustainably improving living conditions for African small holder farmers by creating an alliance of international textile firms who purchase and process sustainably produced cotton from African smallholder farmers for the world market. Cotton farmers also profit the initiative’s training and social projects. Currently around 420,000 smallholder farmers from Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia participate in the programme. Last year around 15 million textiles made of Cotton made in Africa cotton entered the market, and the initiative anticipates around 20 million units this year.

Aid by Trade Foundation founder, Dr Michael Otto, hosted the exclusive preview and was followed by a number of speakers: Dr. Dirk Luckow (Deichtorhallen Artistic Director), Prof. Barbara Kisseler (Senator of Culture), Ingo Taubhorn (Exhibition Curator) and Tina Stridde (Director Aid by Trade Foundation).

Other guests included Hans-Jörg Neumann (German Ambassador to Benin), Hans-Joachim Preuß (Board Member GIZ – the Society for International Cooperation), Dr Wolfgang Jamann (General Secretary Welthungerhilfe), Dr Michael Bornmann (Executive Board Member DEG – German Investment and Development Society), F.C. Gundlach (Founding Director of the House of Photography) and Barbara and Dr Thomas Mirow (Senator a.D.).

Singer Sade Adu flew in privately from London as Albert Watson’s special guest.

The exhibition will be on display in the House of Photography until January 6, 2013.

For additional photographs taken by Albert Watson in Benin please see:

www.cottonmadeinafrica.org/albert-watson.

 








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