Mohamed Abla - Goethe-Institut

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Mohamed Abla

Mohamed Abla
Mohamed Abla | ©Emad Abdel Hady

Mohamed Abla was born in 1953 in Belqas in the Egyptian Nile Delta. After studying fine arts in Alexandria, he moved to Europe, where he studied sculpture and printmaking in Vienna and Zurich and finally found a second home in Walsrode in Lower Saxony. His first solo exhibition was held in 1979 at the Hohmann Gallery in Walsrode, followed by exhibitions at, to name a few, the Ewat Gallery in Leeuwarden, Netherlands in 1989, the Art Hall in Örebro, Sweden in 1991 and the Egyptian Academy in Rome. In 1994 he won the first prize of the Kuwait Biennial and in 1997 the Grand Prix of the Alexandria Biennial in Egypt. This was followed by other international exhibitions, including the Havana Biennial, the British Museum in London and the Kunstmuseum Bonn. Teaching at a variety of international institutions led him to found the Fayoum Art Center in 2007. Today it is an establishment where young artists from all over the world live and work together. In 2009, he opened the first caricature museum in the Middle East and North Africa. After the 2011 revolution, Mohamed Abla was elected to the Committee of 50 that wrote Egypt’s new constitution.

Award statement

Mohamed Abla sees himself as a mediator between Egypt and Europe. He believes that artists have a social responsibility and that their lives cannot be separated from their work. For decades, he has been committed to tolerance and diversity, especially in the Egyptian cultural scene, and has campaigned for freedom of expression. As a multimedia artist, his central motivation is to familiarise a national and international audience with every facet of Egyptian society. Whether realistic portrayals of contemporary, social and political themes or abstract depictions of Egypt and its people, Mohamed Abla’s oeuvre not only provides thorough insights into the artist’s roots and his country’s society, but also into Egypt’s rich heritage. Over the years, Abla has developed a unique artistic language that helps him express his opinions via his works.

Editorial note: In a 10-year-old critical media report on political cartoons in Egypt, Mr. Abla is also mentioned; However, research and clarification by the author of the report have shown that this criticism does not aim at Mr. Abla.