The Maraya Project: Reflecting Urban Waterfronts: Vancouver | Dubai

96 pages, 9” x 6” / 22.9 x 15.2cm

Softcover with gatefolds, ISBN 9780968425817, Gail and Stephen A. Jarislowsky Institute for Studies in Canadian Art, 2022.

Contributions by Alice Ming Wai Jim, Robert Ferry and Elizabeth Monoian, and Kevin Hamilton

Edited by Henry Tsang and Alice Ming Wai Jim

Price: $30 (contact Henry to purchase)

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. 

Maraya employed many forms and aesthetic strategies as creative and critical responses to the global movement of city building and the impact on those who live in, move through and in between them. They took the form of exhibitions, outdoor video installations, public engagements, walks, talks and presentations, publications, and an interactive online platform. The culmination of their research is the Sisyphean Cart, a mobile ‘sousveillance’ cart that conducted a site-specific participatory spatial investigation of the iconic seawalls in both cities. 

The publication includes dozens of full colour photographs including foldouts, accompanied by poetic texts, descriptions and lists of project, 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.