The hurufiyya movement combines Arabic calligraphy with the principles of modern art. The movement started in the second half of the twentieth century but it has roots in Sufism, the fourteenth- and fifteenth-century practice of Islamic mysticism. Hurufiyya or letterism refers to the mystical quality of letters. It is related to traditions of Quranic calligraphy, Kufic script, and Jewish kabbalah.

Abstract Expressionism

Abstract Expressionism conjures up images of Jackson Pollock dripping paint directly onto canvas but our understanding of the movement is constantly changing. In general, Abstract Expressionist art focuses on the process of making art as much as the art itself. It prioritizes the abstract expression of emotion.

Popular Painting

Popular Painting started in the 1960s when the Democratic Republic of the Congo declared its independence from Belgium. The movement reimagined Congolese national identity at this crucial moment through scenes of everyday life. Popular painting focuses on popular culture, local figures, and colonial history.


Photorealism combines graphic skill in painting and drawing with the realism of photography. Works of photorealism are meant to appear like photographs, or like hyper-realistic images of the real world. But at the same time, they are never meant to deceive viewers into thinking they are the “real thing.” There is always a key to remembering that a photorealistic painting is just a painting and a photorealistic drawing is just a drawing.

Cynical Realism

Cynical Realism originated in China during the late 1980s and early 1990s. The movement gained traction as a critical response to the fraught socio-political environment surrounding the Tiananmen Square Massacre. Cynical Realist artwork does not always share a consistent visual style but is marked by ironic and satirical humor and the parody of socialist realist imagery.