Spiral was a group of Black artists in New York City active in the 1960s. They did not have a distinct style but explored Black identity and political struggle in the civil rights era. It included such illustrious artists as Emma Amos, Romare Bearden, and the Abstract Expressionist Norman Lewis. Among other things, Spiral debated the relationship between abstract and figurative art and whether abstract art had a role in the struggle for civil rights.

One Dimension Group

The One Dimension Group combines Sufi mysticism with contemporary abstract art. Shakir Hassan Al Said, an Iraqi artist, and philosopher, founded the One Dimension Group in 1971. The group sought unity with true reality, rather than what they just perceived.


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.