"When I work, I never make sketches, I work directly onto the canvas or I play, The playing then turns into the artwork. When something moves me that becomes my subject matter. Art—painting—for me is the only way to express."
Mohamed Alba in Harper's Bazaar Arabia
Multimedia artist Mohamed Abla uses paintings, sculptures, engravings, and installations to depict folklores and landscapes from the MENSA region while addressing contemporary social and political topics through complex layers. Abla pushes back against disciplinary boundaries, often combing different techniques such as the inclusion of lithography and collages into paintings, for example, as part of his joyful artistic experimentations.
After graduating from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Alexandria (1973), Abla embarked upon a seven-year journey around Europe, where he visited museums in Spain, France, Belgium and Germany, eventually studying art, sculpture and graphics in Vienna and Zurich.
His first solo exhibition ran at the Hohmann Gallery, Hamburg, Germany (1979), followed by shows at Gallery Ewat, Leeuwarden, The Netherlands (1989); Art Hall, Örebro, Sweden (1991) and the Egyptian Academy of Rome, Italy (1991), amongst others. In 1994 he won the First Prize at the Kuwait Biennial, followed by the Grand Prix at the Alexandria Biennale, Egypt in 1997. He has also participated in several international art events such as the Havana Biennial, Cuba and his work has been part of several group exhibitions at the Kunstmuseum in Bonn, Germany.
Abla has also founded several artistic institutions which connect artists locally, regionally and internationally through artistic creation. In 2007, Abla founded the Fayoum Art Center, Egypt, where artists meet, work and collaborate. In 2009, he established the first caricature museum in the Middle East, also in Fayoum.