The Hands of the City
Claudia Pajewski’s The Hands of the City was born in L’Aquila, for years a silent and still city due to the 2009 earthquake and poor politics. Suddenly, three years ago, the reconstruction of the city began. Cranes appeared everywhere, seeming a channel between the destroyed city and the sky. A city however, doesn’t rebuild itself. It is rebuilt by thousands of people, thousands of hands, the ones that Pajewski calls ‘The hands of the city’.
Still today, most of the ’urban humanity’ of L’Aquila is made up of these people. They rebuild the buildings and are the human counterbalance to the citizens of L’Aquila who find it hard to return to the city after such a long time. These men arrive at dawn and leave at sunset, sleeping in dormitories close to work. Most of them have left other countries, other lands, to come and rebuild an ancient city from scratch. Pajewski’s photographs tell a story inextricably linked to the empty city gradually filling up, a city that has lost its urban fabric and its network of relationships that transforms it into a city.
Claudia Pajewski (L’Aquila, 1979) is an independent photographer who lives and works between Rome and L’Aquila. Her photographic research tends towards the strongly political, focusing in particular on issues of gender identity and social change. Specialising in documentary, portraits and stage photography, she won the Hysterio Prize in 2012 and has had her images published in national newspapers such as the Repubblica XL, whom she collaborated with between 2008 and 2013.
Photographing the aftermath
Pursuing the role of activist in 2009, Pajewski’s photographs document the reality of Abruzzo during the aftermath of the earthquake. Her images present facts that not only modify the poetics of the event, but also give life to the long-term reconstruction project of the migrant workers called “The hands of the city”.
Printed in Italy