Hand spinning and weaving in Ethiopia are century-old skills that were once highly respected. However, because of the increased availability of large-scale manufactured textiles from within the country and abroad, this craft is slowly disappearing. Almost all weavers in Ethiopia are men, but the cleaning and spinning is traditionally done by the women. Ethiopian artisans, women and men, are rarely able to earn decent salaries or have consistent work. Although the cotton quality in the country is excellent and yarns are often spun and dyed there, one of their problems is being able to buy good work materials like looms, to produce quality fabrics that could provide them with a better and fairer income to support their families.
Following the PortrAid idea, we support the artisans in Ethiopia to earn a decent income for their families and preserve their heritage. In Addis Ababa, we found Sabahar, a Fairtrade Co-operative, which works to entice artisans back and preserve the rich textile tradition by introducing the beautiful Ethiopian craftsmanship to the global market. Here, artisans receive fair wages and sustainable employment. In order to be able to work on a regular basis, the craftsmen need looms that ensure the right quality. This is where PortrAid comes into play - a well-known artist, this time, Xiomara Bender, takes a portrait of a weaver. The photographs, which are also buyable on this website, get exhibited with the return from the sales directly used to pay for the loom of the person in the photo.
The doors are now open for you to participate. By purchasing the PortrAid of your choice by the award-winning photographer Xiomara Bender, you can give the weaver or weaver family in the picture a new loom. Every PortrAid is unique carrying a simple artisans’ pride and heartfelt sentiment of gratitude for your gift of work.
The portraits are 40 x 55 cm in size, printed on Baryt, Canson Platine Fibre Rag 310 g/m² and encased in a walnut wooden frame with museum glass and cost 590€. This time, two special „supporter“ editions, 80x112cm in size, printed on Baryt, Canson Platine Fibre Rag 310 g/m², mounted on aluminium and encased in an alder wood frame varnished in a special white silk matt with museum glass will be available for 2.500€.
Get art. Give work.
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* Should the weaver in a photograph, for whatever reason, no longer be able or willing to receive a loom, we will use the returns from the sale of the respective PortrAid to support another weaver instead.