9 Hotel Rooms, 2009, Carnal Carnival Group Show, Exposure Gallery;
The Mouths, 2008, Cultivaria Festival;
The Debut Girls, 2008, Exhibited in the Cape Town Month of Photography;
Shooting Godiva, 2008, Exhibited at the Association for Visual Arts in 2008 for the exhibition “Baring”;
Sanctuary, 2008;
The Carnival Girls, 2008, Exhibited in the Cape Town Month of Photography.

9 Hotel Rooms, 2009

Edition of 3
35 x 35cm, Giclee print
Exhibited in the Carnal Carnival group show, Exposure Gallery 2009

The work transgresses the boundaries which are established between perceptions of the traditional active and passive whereby the male fulfils the role of the active viewer/do-er and the female represents the passive and submissive. In the work Hawker claims the position of both the active and passive by assuming both roles as photographer and nude. She gains access to a series of hotel rooms by false pretence and here challenges (or disregards) preconceived social ideas in her identity exchange in public private spaces. Hawker as photographer and nude transgresses established power relations by directing her own camera on herself. Her submissive poses exaggerate the status of the camera in the room and expose the idea of Hawker as a subject submissive to herself.
However, tension lies in the realisation that the unaided act becomes empowering to the self through sexual exhibition; the subject is empowered by being alone, the subject of her own camera, desire and identity.

Written by Lynette Bester and Barbara Wildenboer

The Mouths, 2008

Edition of 3
100 x 100cm, Giclee print on cotton rage
Exhibited in the Cultivaria Festival 2008

These images symbolise what women try to actualize or congest about their assumed identity in society using representative female objects such as ribbon, flowers, jewels, sewing threads and needles , etc placed into open mouths. The printed images’ scale aims to give a sense of ominousness to the idea of flux and prevailing instability. Women juggle their identity between a traditionalist past and a modern empowered future – continually weighing up values, living duplicitously between the old and the present concept of what it means to be a woman.

The Debut Girls, 2008

Edition of 5
75 x 75 cm, Giclee print
Exhibited in the Cape Town Month of Photography, 2008

This small body of work is inspired in part by iconic images of religious saints, martyrs and images of women from myth and legend as rendered in the 19th Century academic paintings. The photographs deal, superficially, with purity and innocence associated with age-old perceptions of the virgin/maiden/bride, although at heart lie concepts of truth about assumed and chosen identity, the crux of being individual and alike in our society. The Debut Girls comments on changing the view of gender perception; here utilising archetypes of innocence and stereotype through the use of certain symbols and objects in the picture spaces. The subjects and objects are documented so as to communicate a sense of isolation, and the duality between beauty and restriction, perception and reality.

Shooting Godiva, 2008

Edition of 4
55 x 55 cm, giclee print of cotton rag
Exhibited at the Association for Vidual Arts in 2008 for the exhibition “Baring”

The documentation of detail, form, strength and femininity during the creation of another artist’s work…

I had been invited into a show at the AVA, Church Street, Cape Town, called Baring curated by Eunice Geustyn. For the show I wanted to do a nude body print of myself on a single sheet of paper. An aggressive act; dirty, naked, confident. My sister was going to roll me up with printers ink and print me onto a single ream of cotton paper. Leah was interested: She wanted to photograph the process. That was the first time she came to my home, meeting my mother and sister, and the first time I was able to be naked in front of anyone for the better part of a year. My body print was called Godiva – a nick-name my father had for me because as a child I enjoyed being naked so much. My father had passed away in the previous year. Leah photographs were called Shooting Godiva, their close up details revealed an ambiguous sexuality and tautological strength.

Written by Lynette Bester for TheSofterSex.co.za

Sanctuary, 2008

Edition of 4
70- x 70 cm, Giclee print on cotton rag

Xenophobia: The intense or irrational dislike or fear of people from other countries.

Sanctuary: A refuge, a haven, a retreat in times of trouble.

In 2008 many traumatised Zimbabwean nationals took refuge in a community church in Observatory, Cape Town. During the riots, more than 60 people died and many were left destitute and injured. I spent time getting to know many of these individuals and discussed their experiences as refugees in South Africa. The church acted as a sanctuary for the families, many of which widowed were women with very young children. With thanks to their participation I documented a series of portraits of the mothers who were housed there. The church environment itself created a strange paradox: both a sacred place for communities to come together yet at this time it was for those rejected by their neighbours.

The Carnival Girls, 2008

Edition of 3
55 x 55cm, Giclee print on cotton rag
Exhibited in the Cape Town Month of Photography, 2008

The Carnival Girls was produced and exhibited in the first of a continues series of group shows curated by Leah Hawker at Exposure Gallery, all dealing with body politics of the nude canon in photography. The exhibitions, which started in 2007, aimed to bring together upcoming and established creatives and showcase their work on an accessible platform.

…this years show will showcase photographic works which explore the themes of the human body within the arena of the political, private, public, personal and and playful.
Tapping into her wide network of talented photographers, Leah sought to curate her own series of annual exhibitions exploring the human form in her quest to make this genre of work more accessible to ordinary South Africans…And since (the exhibitions) the debut of the photographs have become a huge talking point…

Written by Katja Hamilton for The Chronicle