Comments/Context: Stuart Hawkins' playful photographs of an abandoned planned community near Rajarhat, India, explore the competing mix of aspirational optimism and empty failure that haunts unfinished developments all over the world. Starting with the rawness of exposed concrete slabs, vacant muddy lots, and unmanned cranes, she introduces an element of preschool dramatic play, where a yellow cardboard circle becomes the sun and four plastic brooms arranged in a square become a laundry room. Her staged scenes "finish" the unfinished buildings, bringing back a sense of the hopeful anticipation that had been lost when the workers walked away.
In a sea of photography of boarded-up houses, unbuilt foundations, and forlorn empty streets, her works come back to the commonality of human striving for something more. They remind us of how powerful the dream of a picture window with curtains can really be, and how quickly that magic can disappear into the nothingness of construction debris.
Rating: * (one star) GOOD (rating system described here)
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