Mohamed Abla the contemporary artist
Mohamed Abla is one of Egypt’s most notable contemporary artists, who integrates folktales and imagery from the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia into his social and political topics through complex layers pushing back against disciplinary boundaries. He participated in the first days of the revolution, January 25, was present among the revolutionaries and documented the revolution through painting.
His imagery creations are influenced by people in the streets of Cairo, paintings that were inspired by 1950 photographs of his family, hieroglyphs, and another iconography of Egypt.
Beginning of the journey
After graduating in 1973 from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Alexandria University, Abla embarked upon a seven-year scholastic trip around Europe, where he visited museums in Spain, France, Belgium, and Germany, eventually studying art, sculpture, and graphics in Vienna and Zurich. Moreover, he was awarded a scholarship to study in Basel, Switzerland.
Exhibitions and art events
His first solo exhibition ran at the Hohmann Gallery, Hamburg, Germany in 1979, followed in 1989 by shows at Gallery Ewat, Leeuwarden, The Netherlands. In 1991, Art Hall, Örebro, Sweden, and the Egyptian Academy of Rome, Italy, amongst others. His latest exhibition was “Affinity” at Safarkhan gallery in 2021.
Abla participated in various international art events, such as the Cairo Biennial and the Havana Biennial, Cuba. His work has been part of several group exhibitions at the Kunstmuseum in Bonn, Germany. The latest group exhibition was !:54 Art Fair, London in 2018.
Awards and Honors
In 1994, he won the First Prize at the Kuwait Biennial, followed by the Grand Prize at the Alexandria Biennale, Egypt in 1997.
In 1994, his statue Sisyphus was erected in Walsrode, Germany.
Additionally, Abla founded several cultural institutions, like the Fayoum Art Center and its integrated Caricature Museum, the first caricature museum in the Middle East.
Because of his long career and passion for his country, he was chosen as one of the artists to participate in a major exhibition of Egyptian contemporary artists of the millennia, which traveled extensively to museums throughout Europe.