PortrAid: When Art Helps People in Need


Today we want to introduce you to a very special exhibition that’s currently happening at the DRIVE. Volkswagen Group Forum in Berlin-Mitte. Initiated by Thomas Rusch and the ABURY Foundation from Berlin the exhibition “PortrAid. Get art. Give work.” shows portraits of weavers from Ethiopia taken by photo artist Xiomara Bender.

What makes this exhibition so special are not only the incredibly beautiful photos but also the fact that the sales of the artworks directly support the portrayed weavers. With the profits from the artworks the foundation will purchase new weaving looms for the portrayed craftsmen giving them the opportunity to improve their work situation and the lives of their entire families. Compared to many charity exhibitions this is a very transparent and direct approach connecting the art buyer with the person receiving aid.

The concept of the “PortrAid” exhibition is quite beautiful in its simplicity and could be a model for many photographers who portray people in developing countries to make a bigger impact with their work not only for the viewer but also for the individuals shown in the pictures. It’s only fair when you take someones photograph that you also give something back.

With “PortrAid” photographer and initiator Thomas Rusch continues the success of his previous two projects “I see you see” and “I see you learn” from 2015 and 2016 that helped people with cataract and gave moroccan children from remote mountain regions a school education. He choose photo artist Xiomara Bender for this new project who gained acclaim by winning the C/O Berlin Foundation “Close Up!” price, the Fine Art Photography Award in London and the second price for this years German Photo Book Price for her latest book “North Korea. The Power of Dreams”.

photos: Xiomara Bender

You can still visit the exhibition at the DRIVE. Volkswagen Group Forum at Friedrichstraße 84 until March 7th 2018 daily from 10-20h. Until February 28th you can also catch the exhibition “Shift” about sustainability by Volkswagen Group.


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<a href="https://www.iheartberlin.de/author/admin/" target="_self">Frank</a>



Frank is the founder and editor-in-chief of iHeartBerlin. He takes photos, makes videos, and writes texts mostly about what's going on in Berlin. His vision and interests have shaped iHeartBerlin since its conception back in 2007 - and he hopes to continue bringing you the best of Berlin for many years to come.