AUC Hosts “A Boundless Drop to A Boundless Ocean” Exhibition in Collaboration with The Orlando Museum of Art

The American University in Cairo (AUC) announced today the opening of A Boundless Drop to a Boundless Ocean exhibition, in collaboration with the Orlando Museum of Art (OMA). The exhibition features artworks by US-based artists of Arab and Iranian heritage in simultaneous exhibitions in Orlando and Cairo. It will be on view at the Marriott Gallery of AUC’s Tahrir Cultural Center until May 2, 2021.

Curated by Shiva Balaghi, senior advisor to the President and Provost of AUC for Arts and Cultural Programs with support from Coralie Claeysen-Gleyzon, associate curator at OMA, A Boundless Drop to a Boundless Ocean will be on view in galleries at OMA and AUC’s Tahrir Cultural Center.

Drawing on local and regional collections, the Cairo iteration of the exhibition features artworks by Shiva Ahmadi, Farah Al Qasimi, Kahlil Gibran, Pouran Jinchi, and Youssef Nabil.

The exhibition’s title, taken from Kahlil Gibran’s classic 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.

“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 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.” Jonathan Wolf is an AUC Trustee and Nancy Wolf serves on the Board of Trustees of OMA.

“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.

A series of online public programs will be organized in association with this exhibition and announced on Tahrir Cultural Center’s Facebook page. This Cairo exhibition is made possible through generous sponsorship from Barjeel Art Foundation.


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Founded in 1919, The American University in Cairo (AUC) is a leading English-language, American-accredited institution of higher education and center of the intellectual, social, and cultural life of the Arab world. It is a vital bridge between East and West, linking Egypt and the region to the world through scholarly research, partnerships with academic and research institutions and study abroad programs. 

The University offers 40 undergraduate, 52 master’s and two PhD programs rooted in a liberal arts education that encourages students to think critically and find creative solutions to conflicts and challenges facing both the region and the world. 

An independent, nonprofit, politically non-partisan, non-sectarian and equal opportunity institution, AUC is fully accredited in Egypt and the United States.