L’Internationale issues statement in solidarity with barred artists

L_Internationale statement

L’Internationale, a European confederation of six modern and contemporary art institutions, has issued a statement in support of Andrew Ross, Ashok Sukumaran and Walid Raad, who have been denied entry into the United Arab Emirates. The confederation works to create a space for art that connects museum collections, archives, technology and artistic research.

L’Internationale’s statement:

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CIMAM supports barred artists, asks involved museums to respond

The International Committee for Museums and Collections of Modern Art (CIMAM) has issued a statement in support of Walid Raad, Andrew Ross and Ashok Sukumaran, who were all denied entry to the UAE. CIMAM is an organisation of over 400 museum representatives from 63 countries, and is the author of among other guidelines, a code of ethics for museums.  

Their statement in full:

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Gulf Labor Statement on Two More of its Members Being Denied Entry to the UAE


Guggenheim, New York and Abu Dhabi
Louvre, Paris and Abu Dhabi
New York University (NYU), New York and Abu Dhabi
Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC), Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA), Abu Dhabi
Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF), Sharjah
Art Dubai, Dubai
Salama Bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation, Abu Dhabi

This week artists Ashok Sukumaran and Walid Raad were denied entry to the UAE on grounds of “security”. This comes after NYU professor Andrew Ross was similarly barred from flying to Abu Dhabi in March. Given Sukumaran and Raad’s history of vital and sustained engagement with the country and region, invited or celebrated by many of you addressed in this letter, the only possible reason to suddenly have three such integral parts of our art and academic community denied entry, must be their involvement with the Gulf Labor Coalition.

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Artist, Gulf Labor member Walid Raad denied entry to and deported from the UAE

Statement from Walid Raad:

Dear friends,

On May 11, 2015, I was denied entry to the UAE at Dubai airport. At Immigration in the Arrivals Terminal, UAE officials pulled me to the side and escorted me to a waiting room. Immigration officers came back two hours later to inform me that I was being denied entry for “security” reasons. I was escorted to the Departures Terminal, where other officials re-arranged my travel back to the US. My passport was confiscated for the 24 hours I was in the airport. An airport employee escorted me to my departure gate on May 12, and handed me my passport before I boarded my return flight. I was not harassed. I was not threatened. In fact, it was all a simple immigration formality. What stayed with me where the words spoken in Arabic “they are expelling him” and “for security reasons.” Three days later, these words continue to anger and sadden me.

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From the Venice Biennale

Courtesy of Hans Haacke

Gulf Labor is an official participant at the 56th annual Venice Biennale, which runs until November 22nd. During our residency from July 29th to August 9th, our latest report about labor conditions on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi, UAE, will be made public as part of the “All the World’s Futures” exhibit curated by Okwui Enwezor.

Gulf Labor member Ashok Sukumaran denied entry into UAE

UAE bars entry to Indian artist with long history in the region

This week, Mumbai-based artist Ashok Sukumaran was denied a UAE visa to travel as an invited speaker and moderator at the March Meeting, an annual gathering of artists in Sharjah. Sukumaran has a long history of artistic work and commitments in the region including at the Sharjah Biennials (2009, 2011, 2013) and at events including Art Dubai and several prior editions of the March Meetings. His visa application by the hosts of this year’s March Meeting, to be held mid-May, was denied three times.

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Guggenheim in Venice is occupied


Since about 10 am this morning, the dock outside the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice has been occupied by a number of art groups protesting the Guggenheim’s inaction in preventing worker abuse in Abu Dhabi.  The venue has been closed for visitors.  Live updates are on Hyperallergic.  And #GuggOccupied

Tonight in Venice, the Guggenheim Foundation will host the official dinner for the USA pavilion, which it owns.

Update: Guggenheim has agreed to meet with protestors.