Abandoned is an exercise in imagination threaded by irony and social critique. Allen- by-Pratt depicts a near future in which Dubai becomes deserted after the announcement, by General Electrics, of the appearance of a new energy source based on hydro- gen extracted from seawater. The fall in oil prices has led to chaos. The wealthy have rushed off to their summer homes in other countries and tens of thousands of Asians have perished trying to find transport. Nature, however, endures. The excavations carried out during the construction boom have broken the shallow coastal water table, producing self-sustaining oases, and migratory birds have introduced non-indigenous flora into the area. Imported soils help to nourish the growth of plants, and animals freed by their carers from zoos before they fled, wander through the new scenario ignorant of the reasons for their transformation. This work is about the unsustainability of the present economic system and the scant space the aspirations of human beings leave for the natural world.
Allenby-Pratt began his career in photography as a commercial studio assistant in London in 1988. He has worked in commercial photography continuously since that time and relocated to Dubai in 2000. About the time of the financial crisis of 2008, he began to shift his attention to personal projects and exhibiting them, taking a particular interest in economics and sustainability. As well as three main solo exhibitions in Dubai, his work has been included in various group shows and awards programs around the world. Richard relocated to rural Suffolk, UK, in 2016 and is now trying to acclimatise to green landscapes again.