View of part of the Fujairah Corniche and the Hajar Mountains in the Background

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Is Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Party to Exploitation and Injustice?

The Guggenheim Foundation announced in July 2006 that it was building a Guggenheim museum in Abu Dhabi.

The construction has not commenced but Human Rights Watch has challenged Guggenheim AD to clarify its treatment of those who will work towards the completion of this project by 2011.

HRW has been keeping an eye on the systemic’ abuse problem at many UAE construction sites and in particular it is scrutinizing such things as safety provisions in hot and hazardous conditions, the adequacy of wages, the withholding of wages, the confiscation of passports and the right to organize.

Guggenheim AD has not responded to these concerns and has failed to meet the requests of HRW for meetings to discuss these important matters.

There is no doubt that the UAE government has been working hard to step up its campaign to enforce labor rights and increase the number of site inspections.

The New York-based Guggenheim Foundation is also implicated in this matter. It has done an amazing job of creating museums and promoting the appreciation of art and visual expressions of culture but its grand mission will be tarnished like a vandalized masterpiece if this new museum in the wealthiest city in the world is erected by exploitation and raised as a testament to injustice.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Artistic expression of Guggenheim Abu Dhabi.