After graduating from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Alexandria in 1973, Abla embarked upon a seven-year journey around Europe, where he visited museums in Spain, France, Belgium and Germany, eventually studying art, sculpture and graphics in Vienna and Zurich. His first solo exhibition ran at the Hohmann Gallery, Hamburg, Germany (1979), followed by shows at Gallery Ewat, Leeuwarden, The Netherlands (1989); Art Hall, Örebro, Sweden (1991) and the Egyptian Academy of Rome, Italy (1991), amongst others. Later, he moved back to Egypt where he held several solo exhibitions around the country. In 1994, he won the First Prize at the Kuwait Biennial, followed by the Grand Prix at the Alexandria Biennal, Egypt in 1997. He has also participated in several international art events such as the Havana Biennial, Cuba and his work has been part of several group exhibitions at the Kunstmuseum in Bonn, Germany. In 2007, Abla founded the Fayoum Art Center, Egypt, where artists meet, work and collaborate. In 2009, he established the first caricature museum in the Middle East, also in Fayoum.