LONDON — At least 40 laborers were hospitalized and 25 arrested last week after a violent brawl erupted between workers on Saadiyat Island in an incident allegedly provoked by the deportation of strikers and the hiring of “scab” workers in the aftermath of a strike affecting thousands of laborers in May. The violence, which has been reported in the local press, on local television, and Construction Week Online, is but the latest development in what has been an ongoing labor rights quagmire that previously caused significant delays to the Guggenheim project after a high-profile boycott orchestrated in 2011 by Gulf Labor. Saadiyat Island is the site of many significant museum projects, including Guggenheim Abu Dhabi and Louvre Abu Dhabi, both of which appear to have been impacted by the labor clashes.
Though the May strike was noted on the Gulf Labor website (and prompted a related action by the group at the Venice Biennale), the construction at Saadiyat did not appear to be hindered by the troubles, and the Guggenheim did not comment on the matter. After this week’s jailings and bloodshed, however, the Guggenheim may find itself once again forced to come to terms with participating in such an ethically compromising environment.
“It turned into a mass brawl and tens and tens of workers became involved. It was a domino effect,” Ashraf Zeitoon, group corporate communications director at Arabtec, the state-owned contractor running the project, told Abu Dhabi’s The National. Though the riot is variously reported to have been provoked by a minor ethnic squabble, the underlying rationale, according to several laborers who spoke with 7 Days in Dubai, was that the deported strikers were Bangladeshi and the replacement laborers Pakistani. Such deportations and hirings are clear violations of international right to strike principles as enshrined by the United Nations’ International Labour Organization.
The $27 billion Saadiyat Island cultural development will be home to the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, the Louvre Abu Dhabi, a Norman Foster-designed Nayed National Museum, and extensive leisure, luxury shopping, and residential real estate developments. Reports from the developer, Arabtec, suggest that work at the site had returned to normal by this Sunday, but another report suggested that some workers only returned to work on Wednesday.
This week, arts orgs and the war for talent, importance of house museums, the 125 most borrowed books in Brooklyn, the history of listicles, and more.
Lisa Ericson renders her real-world subjects beautifully, but the situations in which we find them are uncanny, menacing, and unexpected.
The unique MFASA at the Institute of American Indian Arts offers mentorships with world-renowned Indigenous artists, flexible schedules, and access to one of the US’s cultural capitals.
Contemporary society in the United States normalizes the idea of the exhausted mother, so why wouldn’t mother nature be equally exhausted?
Tsai’s style is the opposite of boring; in demanding the viewer’s attention, he allows for incredible moments of human connection and discovery.
Over 4,000 artists have signed on to the event, with a nifty online directory listing paintings, sculptures, ceramics, and much more.
American artists were instrumental in propagating the false narrative of Thanksgiving, a deliberate erasure of violence against Indigenous peoples.
“Revolution is a daily practice — a life choice. Not a selfie at a protest,” says Onondaga artist Frank Buffalo Hyde.
Hyperallergic staff share their favorite artists, craft shops, designers, and much more.
Field of Vision’s latest free streaming offering focuses on a vulnerable population put at risk, told through the stories of those inside.