It has been Gulf Labor‘s position since its inception that the disregard of worker rights is a global phenomenon which requires resistance wherever it emerges, and wherever one is able to act. We have stated that this disregard for the safety, social conditions, and rights of workers is a problem not unique to Saadiyat Island in the United Arab Emirates.
A sometimes invisible but palpable line conjoins a Foxconn factory worker in China, a garment worker in Bangladesh, a miner in South Africa, a construction worker in the United Arab Emirates, a Frieze art fair builder in New York, and even the artists who have worked on this statement.
We have chosen to highlight the conditions of work in Saadiyat Island because we see an opportunity to convince institutions, such as the Guggenheim Museum, to live up to their visionary words. Moreover, we hope to bring these issues to the forefront and build solidarity elsewhere, to demand fair labor practices not only in the UAE, but globally; not only in the visual arts, but in all spheres of work.
For this reason, we share the concerns raised by the Arts & Labor group, labor unions and organizations, as well as local city council members around labor practices at Frieze Art Fair in New York. Gulf Labor supports calls to Frieze, their various sponsors including Deutsche Bank and BMW, and all affiliated parties, to meet the basic standards for living wages and protection of workers from injuries.
Organizing Committee of Gulf Labor
Mostafa Heddaya, “Labor Issues in Spotlight as Frieze NY Prepares for May Art Fair”
Whitney Kimball, “Unions, City Council, Congresswoman Protest Frieze”
Rozalia Jovanovic, “Union Members Speak Out at City Hall Against Frieze’s Labor Policies”