World renowned, compassionate Egyptian artist invites all to paint at interactive art experience
St. Augustine residents and visitors of all ages will have a unique opportunity to paint with Mohamed Abla, Egypt’s leading contemporary artist, during an interactive public art workshop on Sunday, April 13 from 12-2:30 pm. The free event ––“Seeing Ourselves As Others See Us” -- will be held at the Lincolnville Farmer’s Market behind the Willie Galimore Center, 399 Riberia Street, St Augustine. Sponsors include the St. Augustine Initiative for Compassion, Flagler College and the Lincolnville Farmer’s Market.
Abla’s “interactive method” has been praised and enjoyed by men, women and children worldwide. Like his other interactive projects in the Middle East and Europe, “Seeing Ourselves…” is designed to invite residents countywide and visitors (especially children) of all abilities or none whatsoever to paint a montage on long sheets of transparent plastic that becomes a living canvas. As part of the process, participants will be paired off to face each other on either side of the plastic sheet. One becomes the model and his or her partner the artist. The artist then traces the model. Over the course of the event painters, models and viewers begin to see the diverse “faces” belonging to those in the city and world around them in new and eye-opening ways.
Compassionate advocate for democracy, freedom and human rights
Besides being internationally acclaimed as an artist, Abla is also a globally respected activist for freedom, democracy, and human rights. He played an integral part in the recent "Egyptian Revolution" through his involvement in public art. As a result, Egypt's interim President and military leadership appointed him to the 50-member Drafting Committee for the new constitution, representing all artists in Egypt.
Additionally, Abla is the founder and director of the acclaimed Fayoum Art Center and the Winter Academy that brings together artists from around the world to demonstrate the harmonious nature of art in a conflicted region. He is also the founder of the Museum of Caricature in Egypt.
As part of his visit to St. Augustine, Abla will also give a talk on "The Power of Art in the Egyptian Revolution," in the Flagler Room in Ponce Hall, 74 King Street, St. Augustine on Monday, April 14 at 7 p.m. The St. Augustine Initiative for Compassion and Flagler College jointly sponsor this event.
"When many in our world today, including in my own country, directly or indirectly encourage sectarian tension, it is all the more critical that 'creative demonstrations of dialogue' be created,” he says. “Egypt, which has had many challenges over the last two and a half years, has learned a lot about how the arts can bring people together, and promote unity and a message of peace, even in the midst of a revolution.”