Layla Omar El-Farouk is a brilliantly whimsical artist and entrepreneur. She’s the founder of Places Des Arts and Arcade Gallery. She has a uniquely artistic take on the seemingly mundane things we see every day. We knew her distinctive art had to be part of our Banat El Ayam Di book. We sat down with her to know all about her artistic journey.
Layla’s journey began early on…
Having a lot of artists in the family created the perfect environment for her imagination to flourish. “My mom always used to give me crayons, paper, and scissors whenever she needed to keep me busy. When I was old enough, my dad took me to classes with a friend of his who was an artist,” she said.
Layla’s art takes on many forms. She does Mono prints along with drawing and painting.
“I like experimenting with different mediums to understand how to be able to use the tools and the materials,” she explained. She learned the Mono printing technique at the hands of artist Hany Rashed.
The subjects for her art range from cats, to people, and even lipstick! It’s safe to say sources of inspiration are easy to find for her. “I draw or paint things I find interesting in life,” she said.
Knowing her passion for art is shared by many, Layla Omar founded Places Des Arts in 2016 and Arcade Gallery in 2017
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Places Des Arts is an educational art center located in Maadi. It provides workshops, classes, and activities related to everything under the umbrella of art and culture including painting, music, acting, film-making, literature, handcrafts, movie screenings, bazaars, and talks.
Arcade Gallery, on the other hand, is quite a multidimensional center. It has an education section, an art gallery, a music store called “Flex Music” and a coffee shop with the name “El Qahwa Khan”. All these sections aim to promote contemporary art.
“I believe if you’re good at what you do, you work hard, and you have good communication skills, you will succeed in any field. This applies to being a Doctor, an architect, or an artist.”
Layla’s drive to add to the art scene in Egypt comes from her experience as an art student
“I spent 5 years in Fine Arts learning very limited mediums. When I graduated I didn’t feel like I had learned enough. When I went back to get a Master’s degree, I found the subjects being taught poor and irrelevant,” she said.
“A lot of People in Egypt lack knowledge about the ethics of art, or its value, the effort that goes into curating, creating, and the techniques.”
“Many don’t believe art can be a job and not just a hobby. But, I know artists who make much more money than doctors do! Many talents go to waste because of this mindset and end up working in a field they’re not passionate about,” she continued.
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Despite the challenges though, she believes things are changing. “Many International schools bring children to our exhibitions to teach them how to understand and value art,” she said.
“The Egyptian art scene is very small. The path to being an artist isn’t always clear because many important topics and matters in art are not taught in Egypt. So, it’s a struggle. We all need to support each other.”
For the future, Layla Omar plans to produce more and more art! We can’t wait to see what more this truly ‘hayla’ artist has up her sleeve. Follow her on Instagram and check out Places Des Arts and Arcade Gallery to stay up to date on her journey.