Akima and Arif. Bangladesh, 2007.
This week’s contribution to Gulf Labor’s 52 Weeks is by Jim Goldberg
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“We drove all day and into the night to reach this village in the north of Bangladesh. The village could not sustain itself, as it was no longer farmable. The trees had been cut down, the streams poisoned, and the floods had gotten worse.
There were plenty of children, grandfathers, and grandmothers, but few mothers, fathers, and teenagers. Everyone who was of age and able had left to seek work in Dhaka, or paid away their savings to a middleman who arranged for them to be sent to the Middle East.
Akuma had only seen her father once, seven years before, when he returned to the village and Arif was conceived.
Three fathers from the village had disappeared that year alone.”
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
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