Mohsen Abou al AzmFollow Artist
Mohsen Abou El Azm was born in 1958 in Fayoum and studied at Helwan University, graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts in 1981. An expressionist artist, he is today recognised as one of Egypt’s leading living satirical painters.
Abou El Azm carved an early career as an illustrator, working on Rose Al Youssef magazine and also for other publications, including the Benghazi Arab Culture magazine, Sabah Al-Khair and Aladdin (Al Ahram Foundation) magazines, and Akhbar Al Youm newspaper. He began exhibiting his work concurrently.
Abou El Azm uses art as a vehicle for social criticism, portraying typical Egyptian characters that are given often comical, grotesque twists in everyday scenarios. His protagonists are brought to life by a vibrant, bold colour code and strong, defined lines, in acrylic on canvas or on paper.
Abou El Azm relays a range of emotions through his characters, often giving them a humorous dimension, but also asking searching questions on a broader societal level, revealing a deep understanding of his homeland and the issues that its people face. Viewers are able to easily relate to both his people and the themes or topics explored, which have often been described as akin to ‘hawadit’ (tales of humanity), from chaotic family days at the beach and the infamous ‘Talat Wara’at’ card game to festival celebrations and Umm Kulthoum rehearsing with musicians, including the poet Ahmed Rami.
Abou El Azm’s work has been exhibited in solo shows and collectives in his native Egypt and abroad. Early shows were held at the Fine Artist Syndicate, Cairo, in Egypt in 1992 and 1994.
Recent solo exhibitions include a show titled ‘Icon of the Egyptian Spirit’, held at Liwan Art Gallery, Cairo (2022). His work has also featured in several shows at Salama Gallery, Giza and Picasso Art Gallery, Cairo. It was the focal point of a special exhibition at The American University, Cairo (2004) and another at the Cairo Opera House Music Library (2010).
Group shows include: ‘The Choice’, Liwan Art Gallery, (2022); ‘The Collector’s Eye V1’, Ubuntu Art Gallery, Cairo (2019); and several collectives at Gallery Droub, Cairo. In addition, it was presented at the Beirut Book Fair, Lebanon (2014).
Abou El Azm travelled abroad to work for the Ministry of Education in Libya and also lectured in Tabuk, Saudi Arabia, from 1987 to 1996.
His work can be found in several prestigious collections across the Arab world, Europe and the US.