Allotment gardens were established in Poland more than 100 years ago and have since become a staple of the urban life. Victor Dia has been documenting the peculiarities of the allotment gardens for the last few years and this is going to be his first solo exhibition in the UK. The title of the exhibition – Raj (Heaven) alludes to a utopian space as representation.
There has recently been resurgence in interest around these gardens and efforts have been made to offer a clear legal framework. Since they are often situated in prime locations, the allotments face constant pressure from developers and struggle to be included in urban planning schemes. Residents are often offered relocation packages and the sites remain abandoned for a short while, suspended between nostalgia and uncertainty, in a struggle between tradition and the pecuniary drive of a relatively stable economy. The Polish parliament is currently working on a legal framework that will liberalize the liquidation of the allotment gardens.
The exhibition focuses on allotment gardens in Poland in an objective yet, at times, lyrical approach. Behind an apparent typology of such dwellings lies the threat of a developing economy and the fight for survival of these urban patches of picturesque respite.