Though widely known for his trailblazing conceptual sculptural composition, Hassan Sharif was trained as a painter at a young age and was first recognized for his figurative images. In his 2009 series of paintings, Raising Hand, Sharif abstracts the movement of a raised hand until its meanings collapse and run together. Depicted in Sharif’s cartoonish, caricature-like style, the figures in Raising Hands No. 2 (2009) raise their hands above their heads in an arc-like motion—simultaneously a wave goodbye, a sign of surrender, a plea for help, and a desire for acknowledgement. Rendered in sickly hues of blues and greens with twisted, despondent expressions, the figures recall the emotive, distorted forms of German Expressionists, drawing parallels between their questioning of convention and Sharif’s own.