Ubuntu in Germany Column

Night of a 1000 Drawings in Berlin raises funds for feeding scheme in Johannesburg

(Editor: Alex Smit-Stachowski is speaking in her column about life as a South African now living in Germany. The South African journalist lives in Krefeld, in North Rhine-Westphalia/ Germany).

Earlier this year, I wrote a story on the founder of 1000 Drawings Berlin, Claudia Retief and how she planned the „Night of a 1000 Drawings Berlin” event at the Willner Brauerei in Berlin at the end of May. About 600 people attended to look at the many drawings on sale to raise funds for three charities, including one for homeless South African children.

felix frankenberger - willner  brauerei (2)

© More than 600 people turned out to look at local art in Berlin who was sold for three charities, including a South African feeding scheme for the homeless. The „Night of a 1000 Drawings Berlin” event was a great success. (Source: Dietmar Gust)

It took place in May and was an enormous success raising funds for the Berliner Tafel e.V., film director Tom Tykwer’s One Fine Day e.V. organization and the South African feeding scheme, Paballo ya Batho – who strive to feed 500 homeless people in downtown Johannesburg.

The drawings were supplied by locals from all walks of life who live in Berlin, urged to doodle for a good cause and to donate their works so that these could be sold for charity. During the four hours, a total of 444 drawings were sold for a flat fee of €10 and the sum raised was €3792,60. Claudia and her fellow organizers worried that the sum raised, when split three ways would not make a big difference, but this was wrong.

„Marie Steinmann, the founder of One Fine Day e.V. told us, that they can fund their art school in Nairobi, Kenya for an entire year. The Berliner Tafel e.V. will be able to buy petrol for an entire year for their Kimba Mobil bus, which drives from one Berliner school to another to teach pupils, how to prepare a healthy vegetarian meal.” The current hefty exchange rate from Euros into Rands means that the Hillbrow-based Paballo ya Batho has a substantial cash sum to help feed the homeless.

The event venue, Willner Brauerei is an old run-down brewery that has been standing empty but is now used for art exhibitions and other events. There is a beer garden and pizzeria and the accompanying buildings are occupied by jewelers and artists who use it as their work space. 

The people who attended were all types from many walks of life and included young and old and families with young children. The public showed an avid interest in art and included some of the artists, who had previously drawn pictures for the project. They were interested to see if their drawings got sold and how people perceived them. 

Two industrial designers who love doodling and attended almost each doodle session turned up to the event to savour the press attention. „They had to pose every now and then for a photo with the newly owner of their drawings and loved the attention”, Claudia smiled. 

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© A total of 444 artworks were bought by the visitors to the 1000 Drawings in Berlin event. (Source: Dietmar Gust)

Music accompanied the event with South African indie folk band, Dear Reader and two singer-songwriters Miss Kenichi and Julia Marcell, who took to the stage and two local DJs who performed; DJ Borusiade and DJ Social Suicide.

The feedback for the event was overwhelming. „We had articles in the local press, people blogging about it and the feedback from the attendees was wonderful! They loved to be able to purchase an original work of art for relatively little money, and that at the same time supported charities”, Claudia said happily. The impact was felt further as several people got in touch with Claudia as they liked the idea so much, that they want to adopt it for the city they live in!

„I am just feeling happy that it went so well, that I found great team members and that it worked out. I am looking into the future and plotting new ideas for the next one”, Claudia concluded. The next event is tentatively penciled in for spring 2015. Members of the public who would like to get involved should make a note in their diaries – the next doodle event will be held in September again.

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