📘 E-Issue 05 ––VCE Fall 2022
  1. Editor’s Note
  2. What’s On in VCE
  3. Pop(Corn): UAE National Pavilion
  4. Rapport: Venice
  5. Zeitgeist of our Time: Füsun Onur for the Turkish Pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale
  6. GAD’s Top Picks: National Pavilions
  7. Strangers to the Museum Wall: Kehinde Wiley’s Venice Exhibition Speaks of Violence and Portraiture
  8. Questioning Everyday Life: Alluvium by Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian at OGR Torino in Venice

📒 E-Issue 04 ––IST Spring 2022
  1. Editor’s Note
  2. What’s On in IST
  3. Pop(Corn): Refik Anadol
  4. Rapport: Istanbul
  5. Independent Spaces in Istanbul: Sarp Özer on Operating AVTO

E-04++ Spring/Summer 2022
Creating an Artist Books Library in Istanbul: Aslı Özdoyuran on BAS
How Pearl Lam Built Her Gallery Between China and Europe
What’s On in the UAE: Our Top Summer Picks
DXB Art Jameel Joins The World Weather Network in a Groundbreaking Response to Global Climate Crisis
DXB “Geometry is Everywhere”: An Interview and Walking Tour of Order of Magnitude, Jitish Kallat’s Solo Exhibition at Dubai’s Ishara Art Foundation
“We Are Witnessing History”: Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian On Their Retrospective Exhibition at NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery
 Istanbul’s 5533 Presents Nazlı Khoshkhabar’s “Around and Round”
HK Startbahn Presents “Made in Japan 3.0: Defining a New Phy-gital Reality”, an NFT Pop-Up at K11 Art Mall
DXB Dubai's Postmodern Architecture: Constructing the Future with 3dr Models
📘 E-Issue 03 –– TYO Fall 2021
  1. Editor’s Note
  2. What’s On in TYO
  3. Pop(Corn): Nimyu
  4. Ahmad The Japanese: Bady Dalloul on Japan and Belonging
  5. Rapport: Tokyo 
  6. Alexandre Taalba Redefines Virtuality at The 5th Floor
  7. Imagining Distant Ecologies in Hypersonic Tokyo: A Review of “Floating Between the Tropical and Glacial Zones”
  8. Ruba Al-Sweel Curates “Garden of e-arthly Delights” at SUMAC Space
  9. Salwa Mikdadi Reflects on the Opening of NYU Abu Dhabi’s Arab Center for the Study of Art

E-03++ Fall/Winter 2021-22
Art Dubai Digital, An Alternative Art World?
Must-See Exhibitions in Dubai - Art Week Edition 2022
Prepare The Ingredients and Let The Rest Flow: Miramar and Zaid’s “Pure Data” Premieres at Satellite for Quoz Arts Fest 2022
 Akira Takayama on McDonald’s Radio University, Heterotopia, and Wagner Project
AUH Woman as a Noun, and a Practice: “As We Gaze Upon Her” at Warehouse421
AAN The Labor of Art and the Art of Labor: Christopher Benton on His First Exhibition in Al Ain
IST “Once Upon a Time Inconceivable”: A Review and a Conversation
RUH Misk Art Institute’s Annual Flagship Exhibition Explores the Universality of Identity
RUH HH Prince Fahad Al Saud Discusses Saudi Arabia’s Artistic Renaissance
Engage101 Presents “Connected, Collected” at Sotheby’s Dubai

📕 E-Issue 02
NYC Spring 2021
  1. Editor’s Note
  2. What’s On in NYC
  3. Pop(Corn): Zeid Jaouni
  4. You Can Take The Girl Out Of The City 
  5. Rapport: NYC
  6. Kindergarten Records Discuss The Future of Electronic Music
  7. Sole DXB Brings NY Hip-Hop To Abu Dhabi
  8. Wei Han Finds ‘Home’ In New York
  9. Vikram Divecha: Encounters and Negotiations

E-02++ Spring/Summer 2021
DXB “After The Beep”: A Review and Some Reflections
OSA Rintaro Fuse Curates “Silent Category” at Creative Center Osaka
AUH “Total Landscaping”at Warehouse 421
TYO “Mimicry of Hollows” Opens at The 5th Floor
TYO Startbahn, Japan’s Leading Art Blockchain Company, Builds a New Art Infrastructure for the Digital Age
DXB There Is A You In The Cloud You Can’t Delete: A Review of “Age of You” at Jameel Arts Centre
BAH Mihrab: Mysticism, Devotion, and Geo-Identity
LDN Fulfilment Services Ltd. Questions Techno-Capitalism on Billboards in London
DXB Ana Escobar: Objects Revisited
TYO BIEN Opens Two Solo Exhibitions in Island Japan and Parcel
CTU/AUH/YYZ Sabrina Zhao: Between Abu Dhabi, Sichuan, and Toronto
RUH Noor Riyadh Shines Light on Saudi Arabia’s 2030 Art Strategy
DXB A Riot Towards Landscapes
DXB A ‘Menu Poem’ and All That Follows
DXB Alserkal Art Week Top Picks 
DXB Permeability and Regional Nodes: Sohrab Hura on Curating Growing Like a Tree at Ishara Art Foundation
AUH Re-viewing Contrasts: Hyphenated Spaces at Warehouse421
DXB There’s a Hurricane at the Foundry

📙 E-Issue 01 –– AUH/DXB Summer 2020 
  1. Editor’s Note 
  2. What’s On in the UAE
  3. Pop(Corn): Hashel Al Lamki
  4. Tailoring in Abu Dhabi
  5. Rapport: Dubai 
  6. Michael Rakowitz From the Diaspora

E-01++ Fall/Winter 2020-21
GRV MIA Anywhere Hosts First Virtual Exhibition of Female Chechen Artists    
DXB Sa Tahanan Collective Redefines Home for Filipino Artists
SHJ Sharjah Art Foundation Jets Ahead on the Flying Saucer
AUH SEAF Cohort 7 at Warehouse 421 
DXB 101 Strikes Again with Second Sale at Alserkal Avenue
DXB Spotlight on Dubai Design Week 2020
DXB Melehi’s Waves Complicate Waving Goodbye
DXB Kanye Says Listen to the Kids: Youth Takeover at Jameel Arts Centre
DAM Investigating the Catalogues of the National Museum of Damascus
AUH Ogamdo: Crossing a Cultural Highway between Korea and the UAE
TYO James Jarvis Presents Latest Collages at 3110NZ
DXB Do You See Me How I See You?
DXB Thaely Kicks Off Sustainable Sneakers
AUH BAIT 15 Welcomes New Member Zuhoor Al Sayegh
MIA a_part Gives Artists 36 Hours to React

UAE Tawahadna Introduces MENA Artists to a Global Community
LHR/CAI Alaa Hindia’s Jewelry Revives Egyptian Nostalgia
DXB Taaboogah Infuses Comedy Into Khaleeji Menswear
DXB Meet Tamila Kochkarova Behind ‘No Boys Allowed’
DXB Alserkal Arts Foundation Presents Mohamed Melehi
AUH/DXB 101 Pioneers Ethical and Curious Art Collecting
AUH Sarah Almehairi Initiates Conversations
DXB Augustine Paredes Taking Up Space
LHR/MCT Hanan Sultan Rhymes Frankincense with Minimalism
BEY GAD Map: Arts & Culture Relief for Beirut

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🗃️ Archive Year 2018 
    NYC Shirin Neshat In Conversation with Sophie Arni and Ev Zverev
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    BER Slavs and Tatars: “Pulling a Thread to Undo The Sweater”
   AUH Abu Dhabi Is The New Calabasas

🎙️ GAD Talk Series –– Season 1 2020
   1. What is GAD? 2015 to Now

    2. Where is GAD? An Open Coversation on Migration as Art Practitioners

    3. When the Youth Takes Over: Reflecting on the 2020 Jameel Arts Centre Youth Takeover
   4. Young Curators in Tokyo: The Making of The 5th Floor
    5. How To Create Digital Networks in The Art World?

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6. Michael Rakowitz From the Diaspora

By Daniel H Rey

Published on August 1, 2020

        Iraqi, and Jewish, and Arab, and American. When it comes to Michael Rakowitz, the list probably goes on. I write this with a degree of admiration. I resonate with fellow artists who hail from multiple places and negotiate overlapping identities. Myself, living in latitude 25º north (UAE), raised in latitude 25º south (Paraguay), coming from a multi-ethnic Colombian household with Christian-Jewish traditions, I have something to say: Michael, you get me.

Myself, living in latitude 25º north (UAE), raised in latitude 25º south (Paraguay), coming from a multi-ethnic Colombian household with Christian-Jewish traditions, I have something to say: Michael, you get me.

Rakowitz, one of my favorite artists, has incubated most of his practice from a diaspora standpoint. With all the identities I mentioned, and maybe others that remain less obvious, I relate to Rakowitz's work on a personal level. Rakowitz responds to politics, questions about overlapping identities, and long-standing inequalities from his place as an artist but also as a concerned citizen. As I move through his work and get my friends to confirm how much I follow his artistic journey, I grapple with the question: to what extent do artists get to talk about realities that they or their families no longer inhabit? 

At a first glance, it’s all about revisiting traditions and framing the unexpected. I learned about Rakowitz’s work in college by way of his Enemy Kitchen project. In it, US Army Veterans formerly deployed in Iraq serve Iraqi food from a food truck in Chicago. I then learned about his piece Dar Al Sulh, in which Rakowitz hosts a dinner serving his grandmother’s Iraqi Jewish dishes –the project’s own Arabic name celebrates the coexistence of faiths in Iraq and the broader Arab world. The projects, as I see them, were not about the food just “becoming art” or about calling something art for the sake of it. It was about their framing. If one masters the art of framing an experience with the identities, stories, and resources available, one is most certainly making art. In fact, Rakowitz shows that art comes to life no matter the physical distance between the artist and the places his work evokes.

With the right framing, art can inspire others to do their own personal research. After learning about Rakowitz’s work, I organized a party called Racha (short for sriracha and colloquial Spanish for “luck”). I covered my wall with the history of Huy Fong Sriracha sauce as a commentary on war, asylum, and my ancestors’ (Latin) American dream. The menu was only potato and cassava chips with Sriracha sauce. In the spirit of my troubled identity, the evening’s playlist featured “unexpected” mixes of Finnish reggae, Cambodian son and merengue, Angolan-South African EDM, and more. The party was a statement to having left my homes, having fallen in love with new places, and continuing to make sense of each of them. Living in diaspora(s) reminds us that there are places in our memories that we will likely never get to escape but merely recreate. Michael Rakowitz seems to know that a bit too well, and today, we get to see a sizable body of his work closer to the very region that, by embracing as a research subject, has made him art-world famous.

Some of Rakowitz’s works currently live in the Arab World even if he is not currently in the region himself. Earlier this year, he premiered his first solo show in the Middle East and Asia. His namesake exhibition runs until November at the Jameel Arts Centre.  It is deeply historical and displays finished works along with the process notes for many of them. The pieces oscillate between pop culture and thorough research about historical reparations, trauma and collective identity. We see works about housing projects in the United States, aboriginal resistance in Australia, temporary solutions for homelessness, a sculptural survey of Armenian architecture in Istanbul, and even a radio room and mini-gallery that unravels historical parallels between the Beatles and the Pan-Arab movement.

1. Michael Rakowitz, piece from The invisible enemy should not exist. On view at Jameel Arts Centre.

Beyond that, the namesake exhibition also reminds us of the value of reconstructing the material history of our ancestors’ lands. From the current show, the works that hooked me the most are The invisible enemy should not exist and Lamassu. In them, Rakowitz engages with ancient artifacts that have been destroyed or looted during times of unrest in Iraq. He reconstructs them and covers them in food packaging that is apparently common to Middle Eastern diaspora households in the United States: Puck cream cheese, canned date syrup, Maggi seasoning, and others. Through these works, Rakowitz becomes a pro-tempore historian who relies on his Iraqiness as an access point into the politics of reconstruction, reparations, and remixing identity post-violence. Using everyday packaging as the material for these artifacts injects a new, migrant, and consumerist dimension into Iraqi historical reconstruction as he sees it. The packaging also reclaims the shared histories of artifacts whose crafts, labor, symbologies, and former witnesses cannot be fully recreated nor brought to life. Somehow, the work brings to light how diasporas get to outlive their artworks, their glories, and, needless to say, their own irreversible ruins. With this, Rakowitz reminds us that it is always possible to make art from home and about home, even if ‘home’ lives in each person’s subjective memory.

As I continue to digest the depth and complexity of Rakowitz’s artworks and plan my next visit to the exhibition, I reach some realizations. Nobody but ourselves can determine how we explore our identities. Nobody but ourselves can rewrite the politics of history and reconstruction. Even the most collective of historical traumas carry individual, contemporary repercussions. And beyond that, nobody but ourselves can determine the scope and depth of our explorations as artists, historians, and members of diaspora(s). With these lessons in mind, I hope that one day I get to explore the Colombian conflict, the Paraguayan dictatorship, the Crusades, and the migratory dreams of my ancestors as deeply and impactfully as Rakowitz has explored his own intrigues. Thank you, Michael Rakowitz, for showing me that it is possible to have multiple identities, multiple questions therein, and tell a story with every single one of them. After many more of our individual and visceral explorations, I hope that we meet again soon. 

2. Michael Rakowitz (left) and Daniel H Rey.

Daniel H Rey is a member of Global Art Daily’s Editorial Board and member of the Youth Assembly at the Jameel Arts Centre. These words are his own and do not represent any institution nor were they requested by any third party.

Unless otherwise stated, photos were taken by the author of this article.