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Laila & Margo's Thought-Provoking Art Takes Over The Walls of Ubuntu

Launched on Sunday the 21st, the Laila & Margo exhibition has taken up residence in Ubuntu Art Gallery, showcasing talented local artists, Laila Ezzat and Margo Veillon, and their creative and visually artistic take on Egyptian life.

In the heart of the island of Zamalek stands an artistic hub known as the Ubuntu Art Gallery that focuses on celebrating and sharing the talents of some of Egypt’s often overlooked artists. On Sunday, Ubuntu launched its latest exhibition, showcasing the eye-catching artwork of the talented Margo Veillon and Laila Ezzat. Blown away by the colourful and thought-provoking gallery, we reached out to owner and curator of Ubuntu, Ahmed Eldabaa, to learn about the gallery and its latest must-see exhibition.Ubuntu is a Swahili word from East Africa which translates to 'human kindness' or 'I am because what we all are'. This apt description fits perfectly with the vision for the gallery as art is about sharing ideas and interacting positively within society. Opening the gallery's doors in October 2014, Eldabaa's vision for Ubuntu was simple and sincere. "Ubuntu aims to showcase and encourage art with serious and original identity whether by young talents or established artists. Its mission is to introduce art lovers and collectors to the artistic expressions already in existence but from a different perspective," describes art curator Eldabaa. Since its launch, Ubuntu art gallery has invited over 15 local artists to display their works in a variety of mediums ranging from sculptures to abstract and classical paintings. 

Curating each exhibition, Eldabaa explains that, "The exhibition doesn't have to involve a major player or existing star in the art scene, but we focus on newcomers with a strong sense of identity and an imposing body of work." However, he adds, "We also welcome the chance to place the spotlight once again on existing icons as we are currently doing with Laila Ezzat and Margo Veillon. Egypt has always been the hub for trends and artistic evolution in the Middle East, so we are not necessarily making new discoveries; just providing a different way to read the artistic movements."

The latest exhibition to grace the Ubuntu art gallery walls displays the inspiring artistic efforts of Laila Ezzat and Margo Veillon. Both renowned female artists with a history of creating Egyptian-inspired masterpieces, their works will be on display until March 6th. Both these artists have their own unique style and have an impressive body of work, inspired and created by life in Egypt. 

Although the name Margo Veillon may not register as Egyptian, the artist of Swiss origin was born in Cairo, and has spent her whole life capturing Egyptian scenes more than any other Egyptian-born artist. With often hidden sly humour, Veillon, a master of watercolours, has time and time again captured the Egyptian spirit and life from Sinai to Aswan with energetic strokes that vary from being cubist to classical, skilfully evoking a wide range of emotion in each of her pieces. As an artist with a unique and original interpretation of life in Egypt, The American University in Cairo, to whom she donated her works, has published over six books documenting her Nubian, rural, and desert journeys, amongst others.

Meanwhile, Laila Ezzat has over fifty years’ experience creating works of art that are full of ambition, anger, and adventure. Skipping traditional art school for training, Ezzat was mentored by Armenian painter Ashod Zorian in the 50s. Under his guidance, Ezzat learnt how to command the powers of line over canvas, and how to create light from colours. Early on in her career, she became synonymous as the painter of horses before developing into an expressionist and abstract artist in the 90s.
This free form contemporary artist has successfully showcased her works in exhibitions in artistic hubs in New York, Paris, and Madrid, just to name a few, with her most notable showcases being part of a celebration of women’s art at the Museum of Modern Art in Paris, and at the Beijing UN’s Women’s conference in 1995. 

The Ubuntu Art Gallery exhibition on display now has selected a collection of Ezzat’s work in the 70s, where she expresses and showcases her ability to convey natural elegance and stress through simplified abstract pieces that provoke thoughts and evoke emotion. This rare exhibition marks the first opportunity for audiences in Cairo to enjoy it, since its appearance in Paris in 1975.

Together the Laila & Margo exhibition is well worth the visit. Both artists, along with Gazbia Serry, Inje Efflatoun, and Tahia Halim, represent the strength of the female artistic impact on the art scene in the last 50 years. Thought-provoking and eye-catching, this strongly conceived curation is sure to have Cairene art enthusiasts looking forward to future exhibitions at Ubuntu, which in a relatively short period of time has garnered the reputation as one of the best places for both emerging and established local artists to showcase their varied and unique collections. 

For more information about the Laila and Margo exhibit click here

For more information about past, present, and future exhibits coming to Ubuntu art gallery click here or follow them on Instagram @ubuntuartgallery.


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