Souad Mardam Bey has chosen the phrase "I came, I saw, I loved", which is the translation of the Latin phrase "Veni...Vedi...Amavi", a softer play on Julius Caesar’s famous words "I came; I saw, I conquered". The idea behind Souad’s latest body of work is the concept of traveling, of opening one’s horizons to new adventures and to falling in love with the exotic.
Souad’s collection of paintings exist in a dream-like setting, with her signature portraits gazing into the unknown. She fills her mystical world with embellished fabrics that adorn all her figures alike, and her colors are earthy with an ochre base. A touch of deep red, sea blue or rich gold occasionally interrupts her otherworldly palette, always to further peak interest in the scene she is composing.
In this exhibition her protagonist is the Voyage itself and not the voyager. The heart of her collection lies in the overarching sense of traveling elsewhere, by train, by horse or even by imagination, carrying one’s baggage-literal or emotional.
Her canvases vary in size, with many of them depicting dynamic movement, such as a young girl riding a horse or another on a bull, though animals of magnificent strength, still the girls appear to effortlessly control them. Souad’s more contemplative paintings depict a moment of reflection in between movements-an enriching pause where her figures huddle together to assimilate their new settings or sit at a coffee shop to absorb all the novel experiences in their travels.
To quote the artist herself: "Traveling feeds the imagination", and this exhibition is a perfect embodiment of that statement.