Watson: “The energy and joie de vivre of the people impressed me deeply.”


Together with renowned photographer Albert Watson, the Cotton made in Africa Initiative presented a preview of the Albert Watson: Visions feat. Cotton made in Africa exhibition in Hamburg yesterday. In the EAST Hotel, viewers accompanied the artist on his journey through the West African country and enjoyed insights into the Benin way of life.

The presentation given by Albert Watson and Tina Stridde, Managing Director of the Aid by Trade Foundation, took visitors on a trip through Benin. Making-of photos depicted some of the team’s experiences and the individual stops along the two-week trip, ranging from their arrival in Cotonou, a visit to a local king and a festival with the Peuhl people, to interactions with the cotton farmers who work with Cotton made in Africa. Watson’s impressive photographs show day-to-day life in Africa from the legendary fashion and celebrity photographer’s perspective.

Albert Watson was especially moved by the people he met on his travels: “The people were wonderful. I was particularly touched by how much energy the inhabitants of Benin emit – it was truly astonishing since the country and its people are really very poor. Experiencing and photographing their pure joy in life was a wonderful experience for me.”

The photographs taken in Benin tell the stories of the Cotton made in Africa farmers who are the heart of the initiative, as curator Ingo Taubhorn emphasised: “With this exhibition, we want to communicate an impression of the initiative’s work. I would like visitors to approach the CmiA with a different awareness and recognize the initiative outside the exhibition as well.”

Albert Watson travelled through Benin for two weeks in December to portray the smallholder farmers who work with CmiA. The Albert Watson: Visions feat. Cotton made in Africa exhibition will open on September 14, 2012 in the House of Photography in the Deichtorhallen Hamburg. In addition to photos from Benin, some of Watson’s unpublished work will also be on display.

For all the press information regarding the event and additional images of Benin by Albert Watson, please visit our project area.

About the exhibition
The Albert Watson: Visions feat. Cotton made in Africa exhibition will take place from September 14, 2012 to January 6, 2013 in the Deichtorhallen Hamburg House of Photography. The exhibition consists of two parts: at its heart are the photographs Albert Watson took during his trip to Benin in December 2011. These depict the smallholder farmers associated with the Cotton made in Africa initiative and the world they live in, portraying the initiative’s social impact. The accompanying retrospective includes never before shown vintage and Polaroid material from the renowned fashion and advertising photographer. In addition to Cotton made in Africa demand partners Otto and Tom Tailor, the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) is also an important supporter of the photo project Albert Watson: Visions feat. Cotton made in Africa.

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