The Shape of Things
NS Magazine, September 2022

By J.P. Anderson

The Block Museum of Art unveils a dazzling new exhibition that explores the wonders of the Arab art scene.

From Morocco and Palestine to Sudan, Qatar, Tunisia, Egypt and more, every fascinating corner of the Arab world is represented in the latest exhibition at Northwestern University’s Block Museum of Art. Taking Shape: Abstraction from the Arab World, 1950s-1980s is comprised of nearly 90 paintings, sculpture, drawings and prints and examines how dramatic societal events—decolonization, war, mass migration, the oil boom and more—were reflected by artists in the region. For us viewers, it also offers a fascinating window into the Arab world’s dazzling variation in terms of culture, language, ethnicity and religion. Here, exhibition curator Suheyla Takesh of the UAE-based Barjeel Art Foundation talks us through some of the show’s most stunning pieces.

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