Orlando Museum of Art announces collaborative exhibition with the American University in Cairo

Boundless-press-preview-012921 page 01

Simultaneous exhibitions in Orlando and Cairo of 21 US-based artists of Arab and Iranian heritage.

ORLANDO, Fla. – A collaboration between the Orlando Museum of Art and the American University in Cairo, A Boundless Drop to a Boundless Ocean, will feature artworks by 21 artists in simultaneous exhibitions in Orlando and Cairo from January 29 through May 2, 2021.

The exhibition’s title, taken from Kahlil Gibran’s bestselling book, The Prophet, describes an immigrant’s transformation from “a boundless drop to a boundless ocean.” The show begins with a drawing by Gibran. The immigrant artist’s journey entails a creative negotiation between the past and the present, between here and there. Along the way, diasporic artists create their own visual language that can convey meaning across cultural, linguistic, and social borders. Bringing together artworks created over the span of a century, the exhibition explores the rich cultural landscape of American diasporas. Curated by Dr. Shiva Balaghi, with support from Coralie Claeysen-Gleyzon, A Boundless Drop to a Boundless Ocean will be on view in galleries at the Orlando Museum of Art and the American University in Cairo’s Tahrir Cultural Center. 

“A Boundless Drop to a Boundless Ocean explores the search for meaning frequently experienced by many individuals who travel or relocate, especially to different cultures,” said OMA Interim Executive Director Luder Whitlock. “Offered simultaneously with the American University in Cairo, it is an extraordinary opportunity to reflect deeply about a sense of place and belonging.”

 “We welcome this historic collaboration between the American University in Cairo and the Orlando Museum of Art,” said AUC President Francis J. Ricciardone. “Through the dedicated leadership of Jonathan and Nancy Wolf, AUC has developed promising academic exchanges with the University of Central Florida. This exhibition provides even more opportunity for meaningful cultural exchange between Cairo and Orlando.”

OMA’s recent acquisition of a photograph by the artist and filmmaker Shirin Neshat served as impetus for the exhibition, which underlines the museum’s commitment to presenting a diverse window into contemporary American art. The exhibition will feature 21 Iranian-American and Arab-American artists, including Shiva Ahmadi, Diana Al-Hadid, Farah Al Qasimi, Siah Armajani, Ali Banisadr, Huguette Caland, Ala Ebtekar, Lalla Essaydi, Amir H. Fallah, Kahlil Gibran, Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, Sherin Guirguis, Pouran Jinchi, Hayv Kahraman, Arghavan Khosravi, Youssef Nabil, Jordan Nassar, Shirin Neshat, Nicky Nodjoumi, Kour Pour, and Michael Rakowitz. The show presents a diverse range of artistic expression and formal approaches including drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, textiles, and digital animation. 

“Emigration is the quintessential experience of our time,” wrote the critic John Berger. Revolutions, wars, economic instability, and environmental disasters have led to an influx of populations crossing borders. The global movement of immigrants 
entails a remapping of the cultural terrain. Dislocation, rupture, and transformation are reflected in the creative process of artists. The artists in this exhibition use color and design, technique and materials, composition and iconography to push the boundaries of conventional art forms, extending our field of vision of the American experience. Collectively, their art sheds light on complex histories of migration, the lingering impacts of upheaval and conflict, and an ongoing search for a sense of belonging. 

An illustrated exhibition catalogue will be available onsite at the Orlando Museum of Art and online at omart.org.

This exhibition is made available through generous support from Nancy and Jonathan Wolf, Mozaik Philanthropy, Barjeel Art Foundation, First Horizon Foundation, Ginsburg Family Foundation, Genie and Nick St. George, Taymour Grahne, and Robert Lehman Foundation.

# # #

Read More