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Souad Mardam Bey

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Born in Damascus, Syria.
Studied philosophy & art plastique in Beirut

      Multi-cultural artist, Syrian by nationality, studied art in Beirut, lived in Montreal for a few years, and moved to Cairo in 2001.
In Egypt, she has encountered a unique blend of cultures, fuelling her artistic endeavours.
Her oversized canvases are brimming with undercurrents of emotion; layers of color and intricate details which adorn her subjects, yet it is their eyes that leave you spellbound. Trapped behind hauntingly beautiful irises are tales derived from life.
With a profuse use of turbans and hats, she reflects her fascination with culture in all its diversity.
“For some reason, all cultures feature some sort of hat,”
Mardam Bey is charmed by such an artistic tradition, shared by the east and west alike.

     Her palette alternates from one painting to another; through scarlet backgrounds, violet turbans, and orange cloaks - the artist professes her passion for color. Still, she grants each of her subjects a colorfully, melancholic persona. Their plush lips are sealed, fencing in their deepest secrets, while their eyes ratify an ethereal disposition.
In this ethereal realm, you are held captive to the subject’s steadfast stare. The artist is not concerned with the exact shape of the eye; but focused on the expression those eyes relay, and the sensation that lies behind the iris. However, she is not telling a story; she is merely presenting one. And it’s open to interpretation.
“I do not seek to impose an idea upon spectators, people are free to decide what to see in the eyes of my portraits.”
Her technique is both intense and overwhelmingly powerful. Applying layers of oil paint and mixed media onto the canvas, the artist manages to construct an alternate world, where men and women boast elaborate costumes; pin-striped or polka- dotted, ruffled, or fitted, rendering each painting more dynamic than the next.
Throughout her career, Mardam Bey has developed a visual language that is reminiscent of a daydream. By producing large-scale, enchantingly textured paintings with subjects that stare one into submission, the artist is able to pull you into an alternate world.
Culture, after all, has a great bearing on Mardam Bey’s artwork. She is a fan of cosmopolitan cities, where ideas, civilizations, (and wardrobe) converge.

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