Consisting of a “delegation” of nine artists, the GCC makes reference to the English abbreviation of the Gulf Cooperation Council, an economic and political consortium of Arabian Gulf nations. Founded in the VIP lounge of Art Dubai in 2013, the GCC makes use of ministerial language and celebratory rituals associated with the Gulf to create videos, photographs, sculptures, and installations that examine the region’s rapid transformation in recent decades.
This exhibition, their first in the US, is presented in the format of a retrospective. The exhibition’s title, Achievements in Retrospective, intentionally plays with the idiosyncratic grammar reflected in bureaucratic Arabic-English translations as well as the kind of international English pervasive at global summits. As a retrospective for a nascent collaborative, the exhibition offers a prospective view, alluding to works that have yet to be made—not unlike the aspirational nature of some projects in the Gulf.
By intentionally focusing on contemporary Gulf culture, the collective seeks, in their own words, to “excavate the undocumented culture” of the region. They make use of the images and objects that circulate in social and political spheres to examine Gulf culture as it unfolds in the present day. The particulars of office environments, markers of achievement, and ceremonial acts become the raw material from which the GCC creates work addressing the very content it employs. Through the guise of an inter-governmental body, the GCC investigates notions of regional and national identity by sharing their achievements with the rest of the world.
GCC delegates are Nanu Al-Hamad (b. 1987, Kuwait City; lives in New York), Khalid Al Gharaballi (b. 1981, Kuwait City; lives in Kuwait City), Sophia Al Maria (b. 1983 Tacoma, WA; lives in London), Abdullah Al-Mutairi (b. 1990, Kuwait City; lives New York), Fatima Al Qadiri (b. 1981, Dakar; lives in New York), Monira Al Qadiri (b. 1983, Dakar; lives in Beirut), Aziz Al Qatami (b. 1979, Kuwait City; lives in Kuwait City), Barrak Alzaid (b. 1985, Kuwait City; lives in Dubai), Amal Khalaf (b. 1982, Singapore; lives in London).