Leila Izzet

Leila Ezzat | Biography

Born in 1933 Leila Izzet is the latest among several artists from among the Mohammed Ali dynasty. Unlike her predecessors who were constrained by family tradition and obligations during the monarchy days, she went public with her first exhibition appearing after 1952.

Leila Izzet is an artist who, unlike many of her contemporaries, didn’t go the traditional art school route into the world of art. Strangely for an artist famed for her abstract paintings, Leila learned about painting from Zorian, an Armenian realist painter who ran a successful art academy at No. 7 (bis) Kasr al-Nil Street, Cairo during the 1950s.

“He was a very good teacher,” explains Leila. “He could see what you needed and pushed you in your own way,”– quite different from contemporary teachers who liked to produce schools of thought following their own visions.

The Cairo born great-grandaughter of Viceroy Mohammed Ali exhibited paintings for over forty years. A great lover of animals she first became known as a painter of horses before moving onto expressionist and becoming famous as an abstract artist in the 1990s.

Leila Izzet has to her credit solo exhibitions in New York, Paris, and Switzerland and participated in biennials in Iraq, Madrid and Croatia. Her work has been in many exhibitions of contemporary Egyptian art across the globe. She has also taken part in exhibitions celebrating women’s art including an art show each at the Museum of Modern Art in Paris and at the Beijing UN’s Women’s Conference in 1995.