Mohamed Abla - Artist Bio

Mohamed Abla, the Egyptian artist, alongside his artwork.

The renowned Egyptian artist, Mohamed Abla, alongside his artwork

In a Few Words

Born In: Belqas, Egypt (1953)

Lives In: Cairo, Egypt

Background: In 1973, Mohamed Abla became part of the esteemed Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Alexandria. After earning his bachelor's degree in 1977, Abla shifted to Cairo for mandatory military service. In 1981, he expanded his intellectual horizons, immersing himself in the realms of graphics and sculptures in Switzerland. The following year, he continued his graphic studies in Austria, deepening his artistic expertise.

Style & Media: Renowned for his multifaceted artistic expressions, Mohamed Abla emerges as a versatile multimedia virtuoso, navigating the contours of Egyptian landscapes through abstract portrayals. Employing a diverse arsenal of paintings, sculptures, engravings, and installations, Abla orchestrates a seamless fusion of techniques, including lithography and collages, transcending conventional artistic boundaries. His extensive repertoire spans from lifelike renderings of Cairo's streets to creations inspired by his family's 1950 photographs, and cultural interpretations of hieroglyphs and native iconography. Abla, assuming the role of an artistic tour guide, invites viewers to transcend the ordinary tourist perspective, revealing an Egypt that is both enchanting and profound.

Themes: Exploring a diverse array of themes, the artist seamlessly weaves cultural tales into the intricate tapestry of contemporary social and political narratives within his creations. Abla's art masterfully captures the essence of these stories and the landscapes in the MENA region, deftly navigating layers to address present-day social and political concerns with a nuanced touch.

In a Few More Words

Renowned Egyptian artist Mohamed Abla, born in 1953 in Belqas, Mansoura, Northern Egypt, has crafted a unique trajectory within the realm of contemporary art. His artistic journey commenced within the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Alexandria, culminating in a bachelor's degree in 1977. Abla's exploration of art unfolded across Europe during a seven-year sojourn, immersing himself in the cultural tapestries of Spain, France, Belgium, and Germany. In 1981, Abla delved into graphics and sculpture studies at the prestigious 
Zurich University of the Arts in Switzerland, followed by continued graphic studies in Austria the subsequent year. These academic pursuits served as the bedrock for his artistic expression, paving the way for numerous exhibitions that showcased his evolving talent.

Abla's dedication to fostering artistic connections materialized through the establishment of impactful institutions. In 2006, he founded the Fayoum Art Center in Egypt, a visionary initiative that gave rise to a collaborative space transcending geographical boundaries. This space warmly welcomes artists from local, regional, and international spheres, offering multiple expansive studio spaces, an art library, and living areas. These facilities seamlessly foster collaboration among the participants, creating a dynamic and inclusive environment. Within the expansive confines of the Fayoum Art Center, Abla, in collaboration with fellow artists and intellectuals, introduced an innovative art center and a caricature museum—a pioneering effort in the Middle East. This unique museum proudly showcases an extensive collection of caricatures by acclaimed artists such as Saroukhan, George El Bahgoury, and Ahmed Toughan. Noteworthy are the informative panels adorning the museum, providing insights into the exhibited caricatures, enriching the viewing experience.

Abla's commitment to his homeland extends beyond artistic pursuits, evident in his daring socio-political engagement. Risking his safety, he champions culture and contemporary art, embodying unwavering beliefs in exposing people to art treasures, teaching its history, and inspiring its future. Delving into Abla's diverse repertoire, whether it is his early watercolours, black and white paintings, Chaos paintings, Nostalgia paintings, or portrayals of life along the River Nile, audiences gain a holistic view of the artist's roots and the vibrant tapestry of Egyptian heritage. His profound influence on the art world serves as a testament to the enduring impact of creativity and cultural exchange.

Key Exhibitions

SOLO EXHIBITIONS

  • Affinity, Safar Khan Gallery, Cairo, Egypt (2021)
  • Earthly Treasures, Tabari Artspace, Dubai, UAE (2021)
  • Out of Frame, Gallery Misr, Cairo, Egypt (2018)
  • The Silk Road, Tabari Artspace, Dubai, UAE (2017)
  • Abla: In Retrospect, TAM Gallery (The Arts – Mart Gallery), Cairo, Egypt (2015)
  • My Family, Tabari Artspace, Dubai, UAE (2012)
  • Cairo, Tabari Artspace, Dubai, UAE (2007)
  • Cairo…Portraits of a City, Zamalek Art Gallery, Cairo, Egypt (2004)
  • Conviviality ... The Nile & The Trees, Zamalek Art Gallery, Zamalek, Cairo, Egypt (2002)
  • Scenes from Vermont, Gallery Arabesque, Dubai, UAE (1999)
  • The Nile, Goethe Institute, Hart Gallery, Carmel, California, USA (1998)
  • Gallery Cairo, Berlin, Germany (1992)
  • Art Hall, Örebro, Sweden (1991)
  • The Egyptian Academy, Rome, Italy (1991)
  • Gallery Ewat, Leeuwarden, The Netherlands (1989)
  • Hohmann Gallery, Walsrode, Germany (1978)
GROUP EXHIBITIONS

  • Spectrum: Summer Collection 2021, Safar Khan Gallery, Cairo, Egypt (2001)
  • The Collector’s Eye VI, Ubuntu Art Gallery, Cairo, Egypt (2019)
  • Nothing Vanishes, Everything Transforms, Art D’Egypte Fourth Annual Edition, Pyramids of Giza, Giza, Egypt (2018)
  • Selective 2, Easel & Camera Contemporary Art Gallery, Giza, Egypt (2018)
  • Histories of Now: Six Artists from Cairo, Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville, Maine, USA (2014)
  • Occidentalism: The West as Seen by Egyptian Artists, Éspace Karim Francis, Cairo, Egypt (2007)
  • Contemporary Egyptian Art, The National Museum of Modern Art, Bonn, Germany (2006)
  • Word into Art: Artists from the Middle East and North Africa, The British Museum, London, UK (2006)
  • Nostalgia, Zamalek Art Gallery, Cairo, Egypt (2005)
  • Nostalgia, The British Museum, London, UK (2005)
  • The 4th Egypt International Triennale of Graphics, Cairo, Egypt (2003)
  • The 8th Havana Biennial of Contemporary Art, Havana, Cuba (2003)
  • The 19th Alexandria Biennale, Alexandria, Cairo, Egypt (1997)
  • The 6th Cairo International Art Biennale, Cairo, Egypt (1996)
  • The 1st International Sharjah Biennial for Contemporary Art, Sharjah, UAE (1993)

Awards and Honors

  • Goethe Medal of Honor, Federal Republic of Germany for International Cultural Exchange (2022)
  • Honor Prize, 3rd Egypt International Triennial of Graphic Art (1999)
  • Grand Prix, Alexandria Art Biennale (1997)
  • First Prize, Kuwait Art Biennale (1996)

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