The Maraya Project documents the collaboration of artists M. Simon Levin, Henry Tsang, and writer Glen Lowry as they track the re-appearance of Vancouver’s downtown waterfront in the Arabian desert twelve time zones away. Maraya, which means mirror or reflection in Arabic, focuses on the urban regeneration megaproject in Vancouver’s False Creek that became an impetus for new thinking about 21st-century urban development and how it subsequently shaped one of Dubai’s first master-planned developments, the Dubai Marina.
The publication includes dozens of full-colour photographs, including foldouts, accompanied by poetic texts, descriptions, lists of projects, events, and activities and a foreword by the Maraya team. Central to the book is a long-form essay by Dr. Alice Ming Wai Jim that traces the eight-year interdisciplinary collaboration and posits the Maraya Project as a kind of imaginative worlding research-creation practice that potentially embodies postcolonial urbanism as a critical transnational methodology. Accompanying writings by Robert Ferry and Elizabeth Monoian, and Kevin Hamilton, respectively, provide insight into the experience of living and working in Dubai at a time of sensational and sensationalized growth, as well as reflecting on the experience of pulling the Sisyphean Cart along the waterfronts while considering the relationship between new media artistic practice and colonial spaces.
An early iteration of Maraya curated by Makiko Hara was exhibited at Centre A in 2011. The 2011 project included an exhibition, a series of public talks, walking tours, and a commissioned interactive website. For the first time in Centre A’s history, the gallery was able to commission the artists to develop an experimental internet platform.
The book is published by Gail and Stephen A. Jarislowsky Institute for Studies in Canadian Art.