sharjah

Hamed Ewais, Le Gardien de la Vie (The Protector of Life), 1967–68, oil on canvas, 52 × 39 1/2". From “The Short Century.”

“The Short Century”

Sharjah Art Museum

Hamed Ewais, Le Gardien de la Vie (The Protector of Life), 1967–68, oil on canvas, 52 × 39 1/2". From “The Short Century.”

A major problem of twentieth-century art history in the Arab region has been one of visibility. Even the high points of Arab Modernism, the movement that flourished across the Maghreb and the Middle East from the 1950s to the ’70s, are often little seen. This owes as much to regionalism as to the fact that most twentieth-century Arab work was privately collected, and these collections either were dispersed by war, as was the case for many Iraqi collectors; remained on view only in private homes; or were bequeathed to museums with only a limited sense of social responsibility.

This is the background for a number of recent historicizations of Arab art, including the Sharjah-based Barjeel Art Foundation’s current show at the Sharjah Art Museum, “The Short Century.” It overlaps in mandate—and, in some cases, checklist—with the year-and-a-half-long show Barjeel has also been

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