Week 27 . JAŠA . Crystal C

JAŠA_Crystal C Tree_small
Crystal C / planting, Pioneer Works, New York, 2014

This week’s contribution to Gulf Labor’s 52 Weeks is by JAŠA
To download, print, or simply see a higher resolution version of the work, please click here

As a concluding action of Crystal C project, I planted a tree, a Weeping Willow, that was part of the installation.

In many situations of artist’s labour, the conditions and value are misunderstood in the market and money driven contexts; therefore I strongly believe that we need to fight for a true understanding of work and the motivations that fuel it. Bare survival is a reality of many; poets as workers. We need to redefine the idea of success, see it as a fist of clay that has to be molded by many hands into a new shape. Togetherness is not only a word, it should be the world.
– JAŠA
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Gulf Labor is a coalition of artists and activists who have been working since 2011 to highlight the coercive recruitment, and deplorable living and working conditions of migrant laborers in Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island (Island of Happiness). Our campaign focuses on the workers who are building the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, Louvre Abu Dhabi, and the Sheikh Zayed National Museum (in collaboration with the British Museum). 

“52 Weeks” is a one year campaign starting in October 2013. Artists, writers, and activists from different cities and countries are invited to contribute a work, a text, or action each week that relates to or highlights the unjust living and working conditions of migrant laborers building cultural institutions in Abu Dhabi.

To learn more visit: www.gulflabor.org

Please read and/or sign our petition

For additional information, please email: contact@gulflabor.org

Week 26 . G.H. Rabbath . SIGNING WITH LIGHT

Rabbath

‘SIGNING WITH LIGHT’, still from a GIF animation, 2014

This week’s contribution to Gulf Labor’s 52 Weeks is by G.H. Rabbath
 
To view more images from the series please click here
 
‘SIGNING WITH LIGHT’ is an ongoing performative photography project by G.H. Rabbath taking place at the 392RMEIL393 art project spaces, in Beirut. People coming into the gallery space are told about the Gulf Labor project, and the ones who accept are photographed while reading posts from gulflabor.org or signing the petition. 
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Gulf Labor is a coalition of artists and activists who have been working since 2011 to highlight the coercive recruitment, and deplorable living and working conditions of migrant laborers in Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island (Island of Happiness). Our campaign focuses on the workers who are building the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, Louvre Abu Dhabi, and the Sheikh Zayed National Museum (in collaboration with the British Museum). 

“52 Weeks” is a one year campaign starting in October 2013. Artists, writers, and activists from different cities and countries are invited to contribute a work, a text, or action each week that relates to or highlights the unjust living and working conditions of migrant laborers building cultural institutions in Abu Dhabi.

To learn more visit: www.gulflabor.org

Please read and/or sign our petition

For additional information, please email: contact@gulflabor.org

Week 25 . Rawi Hage . CARNIVAL

RAWI_HAGE

CARNIVAL, poster, 2012 

This week’s contribution to Gulf Labor’s 52 Weeks is by Rawi Hage
 

To download, print, or simply see a higher resolution version of the work, please click here

The text is an excerpt from the novel CARNIVAL by Rawi Hage (2012).

The author is grateful to the following people for their contribution to the design, and to the translations from English into the various languages. Jennifer de Freitas at Associés Libres Design, Foreign language typesetting: Resolvis.ca, Anita Badami and Rahul Varma (Hindi), Rita Boustany (Arabic), Asoke Chakravarty (Bengali), Dominique Fortier (French), Murtaza Haider (Urdu). Also a special thanks to Madhav Badami, Rana Bose and Azza Tawil.

P.S.

Guggenheim_1 (1)

On Saturday, March 29 protesters dropped fake dollar bills into the atrium of the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. The action was organized by G.U.L.F (Global Ultra Luxury Faction).

To view more images of the action click here

To view video of the action click here

_________________________________________________________________________

Gulf Labor is a coalition of artists and activists who have been working since 2011 to highlight the coercive recruitment, and deplorable living and working conditions of migrant laborers in Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island (Island of Happiness). Our campaign focuses on the workers who are building the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, Louvre Abu Dhabi, and the Sheikh Zayed National Museum (in collaboration with the British Museum). 

“52 Weeks” is a one year campaign starting in October 2013. Artists, writers, and activists from different cities and countries are invited to contribute a work, a text, or action each week that relates to or highlights the unjust living and working conditions of migrant laborers building cultural institutions in Abu Dhabi.

To learn more visit: www.gulflabor.org

Please read and/or sign our petition

For additional information, please email: contact@gulflabor.org

Week 24 . The Illuminator and Gulf Ultra Luxury Faction (G.U.L.F.) . Rebranding the Guggenheim

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
At 10:00 pm on March 24, 2014, members of Gulf Ultra Luxury Faction (G.U.L.F.) joined by the OWS Illuminator occupied the facade of the Guggenheim Museum in Uptown Manhattan for over 40 minutes.

This week’s contribution to Gulf Labor’s 52 Weeks is by The Illuminator and Gulf Ultra Luxury Faction (G.U.L.F.)
To view more images from the action please click here
To view video of the action click here

The Illuminator Joins Gulf Ultra Luxury Faction:

Rebranding the Guggenheim for Exploiting Migrant Workers in Abu Dhabi

At 10:00 pm on March 24, 2014, members of Gulf Ultra Luxury Faction (G.U.L.F.) joined by the OWS Illuminator occupied the facade of Guggenheim Museum in Uptown Manhattan for over 40 minutes. G.U.L.F. rebranded the Guggenheim’s flagship museum in protest of complicity at the ill-treatment and economic exploitation of migrant workers in Abu Dhabi who are beginning to build the new Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim on  Saadiyat (aka ‘Island of Happiness’. G.U.L.F.’s act of messaging solidarity follows recent reports from Human Rights Watch, as well as investigative findings from members of the Gulf Labor Coalition (some of whom overlap with G.U.L.F.) who have just returned from a fact-finding mission in Abu Dhabi where where they visited several worker camps and spoke with workers. They confirmed a reality that is the opposite of happy: multiple labor violations, generated by a system built on human suffering and debt bondage.

Last night, G.U.L.F. renewed the call on the Guggenheim to own up to its responsibility as a leading cultural, educational and art institution, and not take economic advantage of the workers seeking the ‘Gulf Dream’. Workers should not be caught in a debt spiral where they must work for years on building the museum only to pay the fees that brought them to Abu Dhabi in the first place. Guggenheim has a choice here. It must refuse to lend its cultural capital to build the ‘Island of Happiness’ where art and luxury mask and maintain a racialized exploitative labor regime, while using its PR department and those of its partners to hide the facts and mislead the public. Unless the Guggenheim changes course with the new museum in Abu Dhabi, G.U.L.F. will continue to remind the Guggenheim that their brand is: “1% Global Museum.”

 

1% Museums means 1% Art.

Art built on Oppression Loses Meaning.

There are other possible Futures of Art.

Related Film Screening | America’s War Workers

Reported by Anjali Kamat & Produced by Samuel Black for Fault Lines Al-Jazeera

March 27, 2014
SCA Flex Space
20 Cooper Square, Floor 4
6:00 PM

Post-Screening Discussion with Anjali Kamat, Samuel Black, Paula Chakravartty & Darryl Li

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Week 23 . Hend Al Mansour . Fist of the Day

Hend Al Mansour_Fist of the Day_small
Fist of the Day, silk screen print, 2014

This week’s contribution to Gulf Labor’s 52 Weeks is by Hend Al Mansour
 
To download, print, or simply see a higher resolution version of the work, please click here
 
To view more works from the current exhibition Labor-Migrant-Gulf at Southwestern College, San Diego, click here
_________________________________________________________________________

Gulf Labor is a coalition of artists and activists who have been working since 2011 to highlight the coercive recruitment, and deplorable living and working conditions of migrant laborers in Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island (Island of Happiness). Our campaign focuses on the workers who are building the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, Louvre Abu Dhabi, and the Sheikh Zayed National Museum (in collaboration with the British Museum). 

“52 Weeks” is a one year campaign starting in October 2013. Artists, writers, and activists from different cities and countries are invited to contribute a work, a text, or action each week that relates to or highlights the unjust living and working conditions of migrant laborers building cultural institutions in Abu Dhabi.

To learn more visit: www.gulflabor.org

Please read and/or sign our petition

For additional information, please email: contact@gulflabor.org

Week 22 . 100 Artists . West Coast Artists vs. Guggenheim and Louvre Museums

sTwo Botehs March 11 2014
West Coast Artists vs. Guggenheim and Louvre Museums, mixed media, 2014

To view more works from the exhibit click here

This week’s contribution to Gulf Labor’s 52 Weeks is Labor-Migrant-Gulf, an Exhibit at Southwestern College, San Diego, March 13 to April 10, 2014
 
Labor/Migrant/Gulf explores migrant workers struggles throughout the world with pointed emphasis on workers from Central and Southeast Asia who work in the Arabian/Persian Gulf, Mexican workers on the US-Mexican border, and California’s migrant history. The exhibit at Southwestern College, a few miles away from the US – Mexican border joins artists from around the world to bring awareness to the human struggles of the world’s poorest laborers. Many of the artists in the exhibit that have shown in the United Arab Emirates (Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah) first became aware of the conditions at the Sharjah Biennial in 2009 and began a petition to push the Guggenheim Museum to be mindful of the harsh and unsafe working conditions. A sub-theme is the artist’s identification with migrant laborers.  Perhaps artists are one or two rungs above the world’s poorest labor pools?  This exhibit attempts to break down hierarchies between established artist and other artists, therefore children and young adults are included.  Labor/Migrant/Gulf at Southwestern College will be organized in two parts: One part is a traditional group exhibit of about a dozen artists. The other part is collective pieces made up of art from about 90 artists to form the shape of large boteh or paisley designs. The boteh/paisley is a significant ornamental design that has religious, historical, colonial, counter culture, and labor meaning and inferences. The boteh/paisley designs honor the Asian migrants that inspired this art exhibit. 
 
- Doris Bittar, artist/curator
 

_________________________________________________________________________

Gulf Labor is a coalition of artists and activists who have been working since 2011 to highlight the coercive recruitment, and deplorable living and working conditions of migrant laborers in Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island (Island of Happiness). Our campaign focuses on the workers who are building the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, Louvre Abu Dhabi, and the Sheikh Zayed National Museum (in collaboration with the British Museum).  

“52 Weeks” is a one year campaign starting in October 2013. Artists, writers, and activists from different cities and countries are invited to contribute a work, a text, or action each week that relates to or highlights the unjust living and working conditions of migrant laborers building cultural institutions in Abu Dhabi.

To learn more visit: www.gulflabor.org

Please read and/or sign our petition

For additional information, please email: contact@gulflabor.org

 

Week 21 . Maryam Monalisa Gharavi . [they] built for eternity

[they] built for eternity - gharavi - 2014

they built for eternity, acrylic and inkjet, 2014

This week’s contribution to Gulf Labor’s 52 Weeks is by Maryam Monalisa Gharavi
 

To download, print, or simply see a higher resolution version of the work, please click here

_________________________________________________________________________

Gulf Labor is a coalition of artists and activists who have been working since 2011 to highlight the coercive recruitment, and deplorable living and working conditions of migrant laborers in Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island (Island of Happiness). Our campaign focuses on the workers who are building the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, Louvre Abu Dhabi, and the Sheikh Zayed National Museum (in collaboration with the British Museum). 

“52 Weeks” is a one year campaign starting in October 2013. Artists, writers, and activists from different cities and countries are invited to contribute a work, a text, or action each week that relates to or highlights the unjust living and working conditions of migrant laborers building cultural institutions in Abu Dhabi.

To learn more visit: www.gulflabor.org

Please read and/or sign our petition

For additional information, please email: contact@gulflabor.org

Week 20 . G.U.L.F. (Global Ultra Luxury Faction) . Is this the future of art?

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Protest action inside the Guggenheim Museum, New York City. Saturday, February 22, 2014.

This week’s contribution to Gulf Labor’s 52 Weeks is by G.U.L.F. (Global Ultra Luxury Faction) 
 
To view the full video of Saturday’s action, please click here
To view the flyer that was distributed during the action click here
 
G.U.L.F. took direct action against the Guggenheim Museum in New York as part of a solidarity initiative with South Asian migrant workers on Saadiyat Island. The following statement has been released by G.U.L.F. in response to a series of statements made by the Guggenheim Foundation this week:
Each time the Guggenheim speaks, its approach to migrant labour issues on Saadiyat Island sounds more like that of a global corporation than that of an educational or art institution. We would like to remind the Guggenheim that it’s a museum, with a mission to “explore ideas across cultures through dynamic curatorial and educational initiatives.” Museums should help the public come to a greater understanding of the global complexities we all face.
 
Each day the Guggenheim hides behind the excuse that “construction has not yet started on our building” is another day of evading decisions and actions which could prevent a future migrant worker’s servitude. Right now, the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi’s infrastructure is being constructed. That infrastructure includes roads, sewage, water, electric, net pipes, etc., leading to the museum. But other components of the work are also under way. We can only assume that money has been transferred to the Guggenheim here in New York in order to hire the curators and administrators of Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. We know that events off-site have already been organized. Works of art have certainly been bought, insured, and stored. Last but not least, Saadiyat Island is being sold to investors on the basis of the Guggenheim’s name, along with those of the Louvre, the British Museum and others. How can the Guggenheim claim that construction has not begun? 
 
Even if we were to take at face value the claim that construction of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi has not begun, we would say the following: NOW thousands of workers who will build your museum are taking on the massive debt that will take them years to repay; NOW workers are being recruited with promises that will not be fulfilled, for jobs that will pay less than they expected; NOW workers are applying for the passports that may be confiscated as soon as they land in the UAE; and, surely, NOW is the time to do something about all of this.
 
It is unfortunate but not surprising that the Guggenheim refuses to open its doors to a serious public dialogue about the migrant labor issues in Abu Dhabi. A museum of its stature must foster public education about the conditions under which art is viewed. The Guggenheim is stepping back from this social responsibility as it focuses on expanding into new global markets. 
 
As for the underpaid Guggenheim guards’ wages in New York, passing off culpability to a subcontractor is no longer an acceptable practice, even in the corporate world. The Guggenheim should pay all employees at least a living wage, even if they are on a contractor’s payroll.
 
Sadly, the Guggenheim’s latest response confirms our expectation. It has tried to hide behind technicalities and PR spin as it waits for news cycles to die down. We know the composition of their board and it does not surprise us. A 1% Global Museum with a 1% Board that cares very little about its lowest-paid employees and the example it is setting to the world.
 
We will be back.
 
G.U.L.F
(Global Ultra Luxury Faction)

_________________________________________________________________________

Gulf Labor is a coalition of artists and activists who have been working since 2011 to highlight the coercive recruitment, and deplorable living and working conditions of migrant laborers in Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island (Island of Happiness). Our campaign focuses on the workers who are building the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, Louvre Abu Dhabi, and the Sheikh Zayed National Museum (in collaboration with the British Museum). 

“52 Weeks” is a one year campaign starting in October 2013. Artists, writers, and activists from different cities and countries are invited to contribute a work, a text, or action each week that relates to or highlights the unjust living and working conditions of migrant laborers building cultural institutions in Abu Dhabi.

To learn more visit: www.gulflabor.org

Please read and/or sign our petition

For additional information, please email: contact@gulflabor.org

Week 19 . Anna Stump . “Migrant Labor did not exist …”

Anna_Stump
Migrant Labor did not exist in the Wonderland of Knowledge Encyclopedia, 1938. 
Gouache and Collage on Paper, 2013. 
 
This week’s contribution to Gulf Labor’s 52 Weeks is by Anna Stump
 

To download, print, or simply see a higher resolution version of the work, please click here

_________________________________________________________________________

Gulf Labor is a coalition of artists and activists who have been working since 2011 to highlight the coercive recruitment, and deplorable living and working conditions of migrant laborers in Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island (Island of Happiness). Our campaign focuses on the workers who are building the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, Louvre Abu Dhabi, and the Sheikh Zayed National Museum (in collaboration with the British Museum). 

“52 Weeks” is a one year campaign starting in October 2013. Artists, writers, and activists from different cities and countries are invited to contribute a work, a text, or action each week that relates to or highlights the unjust living and working conditions of migrant laborers building cultural institutions in Abu Dhabi.

To learn more visit: www.gulflabor.org

Please read and/or sign our petition

For additional information, please email: contact@gulflabor.org

Week 18 . John Pitman Weber . Migrant

JPW_small

Migrant, Woodcut, 2013

This week’s contribution to Gulf Labor’s 52 Weeks is by John Pitman Weber
 

To download, print, or simply see a higher resolution version of the work, please click here

_________________________________________________________________________

Gulf Labor is a coalition of artists and activists who have been working since 2011 to highlight the coercive recruitment, and deplorable living and working conditions of migrant laborers in Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island (Island of Happiness). Our campaign focuses on the workers who are building the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, Louvre Abu Dhabi, and the Sheikh Zayed National Museum (in collaboration with the British Museum). 

“52 Weeks” is a one year campaign starting in October 2013. Artists, writers, and activists from different cities and countries are invited to contribute a work, a text, or action each week that relates to or highlights the unjust living and working conditions of migrant laborers building cultural institutions in Abu Dhabi.

To learn more visit: www.gulflabor.org

Please read and/or sign our petition

For additional information, please email: contact@gulflabor.org