Positive Pathways (+)
October 13—November 23, 2016
If you were struck by Black Friday, Sophia-Al Maria’s first American museum exhibition still on view at The Whitney, wait until you see Positive Pathways (+), GCC’s installation-heavy New York tenure which includes the namesake sculpture first shown at the Berlin Biennale this summer. Founded in 2013 at Art Dubai by a group of young Arab artists, the collective is known for its ironic body of work scrutinizing the oil-fueled wealth and the nouvelle rich type which came out as a consequence in the Arabian Gulf.
Observing a region immersed in extreme wealth in such short span of time, the members infuse political satire with social analysis. In this exhibition, for example, the installation, including a mother and son in the center of a running track, humorously tackles the booming trend of Healthy Living and Positive Lifestyle. So much that, United Arab Emirates currently has a newly-appointed Minister of Happiness.
While all its members own hereditary and cultural connections to the Gulf Region, the majority was born and educated abroad, allowing them to possess an alternative perspective towards the region. Although the collective formed only in 2013, MoMA PS1 hosted an exhibition “in the format of a retrospective”, entitled Achievements in Retrospective, breaking down the collective’s multi-disciplinary practice. Group members, other than Al-Maria, includes the musician Fatima Al Qadiri, Nanu Al-Hamad, Monira Al Qadiri, and Barrak Alzaid.