What: ‘Abandoned’ art exhibition by Richard Allenby-Pratt.
Where: Shelter, Alserkal Avenue.
When: Monday March 18.
My friend and artist Richard Allenby-Pratt was hosting the opening night for his latest photographic collection, ‘Abandoned’, and I couldn’t possibly miss it. I’d already seen most of the collection during its production and was excited to see it all hung.
En route to the gallery, I picked up Richard’s wife, Lisa Harwood. Lisa has been my best friend since we were seven, both of us having gone to Jeddah Prep School in Saudi Arabia, then the same boarding school in England, before we coincidentally ended up in Dubai.
In sharp contrast to the monochromatic, muted palette that he’d used to create his exquisitely refined pieces, Richard was unshaven and dressed in a loud Hawaiian shirt, waving his arms around animatedly as he answered the endless questions from inquisitive viewers. It was immediately clear that this collection was going down a treat.
The concept behind ‘Abandoned’ is that by 2017 Dubai is deserted, with only a few Bedouin remaining. The gates to the zoos, private animal collections and wildlife parks have been left open, allowing the animals to roam the empty streets. Richard’s skills as a photo retoucher are so meticulous that when ‘Abandoned’ went viral, many people thought these images were real and that exotic animals actually were wandering the streets of Dubai.
Before leaving, I needed to get a pic of Richard for my inking so I interrupted him for a quick pose, and managed to snap him before he charmingly told me to go away. Lisa and I hung out with my friend Marcela Danielova for a while, soaking up the atmosphere and buzz that this collection had created.
For Hatty’s blog and more of her art, see www.hattypedder.com.