Week 3 . West Coast Artists in Vancouver, San Diego and Tijuana Launch Campaigns for Gulf Labor


 Ruiz Border 2

Michael Ruiz, San Diego, “la línea” “the line”  erased digital image on paper, 2012-13 

This week’s contributions are by Doris Bittar and Jayce Salloum:

Doris Bittar/Protea Gallery in San Diego is calling for art work, texts, photographs, paintings, sketches from artists that are responsive to the struggles of migrant labor worldwide.

– The art-text-sketches should be no bigger than 8″x10″ (20.3 cm x  25.4 cm) and resolution of about 1MB.

– There are no restrictions on the type of art, and its parameters are broad. It could be a self-portrait, a poem, a sketch for an installation, a script, a text piece, a collage, a drawing, a photograph…

– Your piece will be part of a growing album on our Facebook page. Your name, the city you reside in, the title, media and date of the piece(s) and its copyright status will be included in the caption.

– Send images to Doris Bittar (Protea Gallery): doris.bittar@gmail.com Phone: 619 787-8505


Jayce Salloum, location/dis-location(s): contingent promises (installation excerpt), 2012

I remember installing an exhibition in the UAE. The workers transformed this massive hanger like conference hall into separate galleries for each artist. For lunch break the workers would lay down the drywall/gypsum board onto the ground and sleep for a bit, curled up on top of it after eating from their tiffins. In the evenings outside their living quarters thousands of men milled about, shopping and socializing, absent were women and children, their families not able to accompany them. It was as if two-thirds of the demographic had suddenly disappeared.

Full labour and human rights should be protected in all contracts in the UAE and worldwide. Capital exploits labour, it needs to be watched and acted against. My current exhibition, location/dis-locations(s): contingent promises at grunt gallery in Vancouver, Canada is dedicated to 52 Weeks of Gulf Labor. It is a sort of a ballad to humans’ actions and their needs to create, joys found, and the inevitable destruction wrought. Someday we may learn to learn, someday we may remember to remember and act accordingly, let’s hope sooner rather than later.

–Jayce Salloum


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

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

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