Photographer Benjamin Rusnak Premieres His Latest Exhibit “23 Degrees, Far From Paradise"

ACND Gallery of Art at Archbishop Curley Notre Dame
Through April 4, 2012.

Benjamin Rusnak’s “23º, Far From Paradise” is on display at the ACND Gallery of Art at Archbishop Curley Notre Dame 6 to 12 Prep through April 4, 2012. Rusnak has been staff photographer at the Food For The Poor Inc. for 12 years. This year the organization is celebrating its 30th anniversary of helping the poor in the Caribbean and Central America.

Prior to working for the Food for the Poor, Inc., Rusnak was a newspaper photojournalist for nearly 10 years, having worked for Agence France-Press, the Indianapolis Star, the Fort Myers News-Press and the Ann Arbor News. His work has been recognized by Pictures of the Year International, the Best of Photojournalism, the Gordon Parks photography competition, the New York Photo Awards, the International Photography Awards, Photo District News, the Atlanta Photojournalism Seminar, the Alexia Foundation, and the China International Press Photo Contest.

His work has been exhibited at: the World Bank in Washington, D.C., KONA Gallery, CA, and George Mason University, VA. He has spoken about his work to people of all ages including engagements at the University of Florida and University of Central Florida. Rusnak, most recently, spoke to students at ACND’s at the 16th Annual HungerFest event where students fast, as a gesture of solidarity with the poor, while packing and distributing lunches for Miami’s homeless and washing cars to raise funds for the school’s sister school in Haiti and mission in Peru. Students raised over $3,000.00 and packed 3,575 lunches – about 300 more than last year.

Artists’s Statement:

23º of latitude separate the Equator from the Northern tropic. These latitudes are home to beaches, palms, vacation resorts, idyllic paradise – and poverty.

This is where the sun bares countless dark and desperate lives. This is where the unfortunate location of birth often condemns people to a life of struggle in an unforgiving land, beset with drought and flood, famine and tempest.

Conversely, this is where hope and resilience coexist with tribulation. For the poor, there is a duality to life. In each person, each moment holds joy and pain, a mourning for what is lost and a yearning for what may be. These lands represent a dream holiday to tourists, but they are only an elusive fantasy to millions of residents still hoping for the reality of paradise to become theirs.

The exhibit is made up of 12 large-scale, black and white photographs demonstrating how Rusnak uses the foundations of solid journalistic storytelling to fundraise for the poor. His works depict poverty in Honduras, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Guyana, and Guatemala.

ACND Gallery hours are Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Other hours by appointment. Admission is free.

ACND Gallery of Art
at Archbishop Curley Notre Dame 6 to 12 Prep
4949 NE 2nd Avenue
Miami, FL 33137

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