Taking Shape traces the emergence and development of abstraction in the Arab world through paintings and sculpture dating from the 1950s through the 1980s. Drawn from the collection of the Barjeel Art Foundation in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, this book features nearly ninety works by a diverse group of artists whose creative visions stretched beyond the boundaries of representation.
Taking Shape explores how twentieth-century abstraction developed and played out across the Arab world. Including artists working in Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, and the United Arab Emirates, this collection reveals the truly global reach of abstract art. This book sheds light on a number of abstract movements initiated by artists’ collectives and individual practitioners, both in the region and among the Arab diaspora. Taking Shape also examines how these artists moved away from figuration and naturalistic depictions of reality toward investigations into the expressive capacities of line, color, and texture. Placing the featured artists and their works within larger cultural and global contexts, Taking Shape contributes to the burgeoning field of scholarship on art from the Middle Eastern and North African regions, establishing global art as a central component of modernity.