"From the Atlantic to the Gulf," an exhibit that highlights the unity of those from the Middle East and underscores their contributions to this vast region, from the East Cost of the United States to the West Coast of Africa to the Arabian Gulf.
What do you think of when you hear the phrase, "from the Atlantic to the Gulf?" The concept is broad and touches on several thoughts. This vast region indicates the many places that Middle Easterners have migrated to and shared their culture, from the shores of the Atlantic Ocean to the Arabian Gulf. The image promotes one of Arab unity and symbolizes the Pan Arab Nationalist movement. For Kanaan, the phrase also poses the questions of what the price is of this exchange in terms of oil shipped around the world from the Middle East, the cost to humanity as a whole because of it, the resulting environmental impact, the result of seeking cheaper resources, war and its devastation, and much more.
For the first time -- and possibly the first time ever, anywhere -- styrofoam will be used as part of the exhibit but in a new format. Kanaan has melted styrofoam -- a petroleum-based product -- and then used it as a new medium by which to "glaze" his art. The use of styrofoam, albeit as a new compound, underscores how two worlds are brought together through petroleum and the many shapes and forms that partnership can take. Styrofoam also illicits thoughts of recycling, reuse (in its new format), waste in our lives as a symbol of consumption…and how despite thousands of miles between the Atlantic and the Arabian Gulf, that people are very much the same with similar interests and needs.