Project Native Informant


Belief in the Power of Believe

James Gallery – The Center for Humanities, New York

Belief in the Power of Believe investigates cultural heritage of the Gulf region of the Middle East through this project of relief sculptures by the artist collective GCC.

"Heritage engineering" is a prevalent practice in the Gulf region that is used to prioritize certain aspects of culture that create and maintain a prevailing narrative of positivity. To this end, "positive energy movements" have become co-opted by governments in the region; new ministerial positions like the United Arab Emirates’ Minister of Happiness have been created, and life coaches and Feng Shui consultants are now employed by the hereditary leaders. 

In Belief in the Power of Believe, the artists reference antiquity with a set of monumental sculptural reliefs based on 3D renderings of stills taken from YouTube videos and online images of regional practitioners promoting the positive energy movement as state policy. Referring to the erasure and creation of cultural myths, these reliefs become contemporary cultural artifacts: at the same time embodying narratives of the present and the politics of cultural extinction and creation. 

GCC, an acronym that does not necessarily stand for but alludes to the Gulf Cooperation Council (the intergovernmental political and economic partnership that connects six countries in the region), is an artist “delegation” or collective composed of eight members, each of whom have strong ties to the Arabian Gulf region of the Middle East.

GCC Collective Members: Nanu Al-Hamad, Khalid Al Gharaballi, Abdullah Al-Mutairi, Fatima Al Qadiri, Monira Al Qadiri, Aziz Alqatami, Barrak Alzaid, and Amal Khalaf.

Curator: Katherine Carl, The James Gallery.

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