My first series of women goes back to
1981, after my recent move to New England. At first "The Ladies" were
painted with watercolor or acrylic and inspired by a luminous stained
glass window that used to cover an entire wall of my grandmother's home
in Egypt. I used to call them the "Stained Glass Ladies".
When one of my paintings made it to
the juried exhibit of the Currier Museum
of Art in 1984, I learned that my fascination with design
and colored glass could be shared with a larger public.
Slowly I started introducing new
elements, like flowers, in the women's dresses. The women would be
dreaming in different settings made of tiled landscapes and diffused
"Marilene Sawaf's oil
painting "Friendship," is an intriguing portrait of women. The artist
uses tribal- like figures dancing in a sea of tiny circles to make a
statement about the long history of female bonding", said Staci
Milbouer in April of 1992
She added in
February of 1993, "Sawaf's dreamlike images show a singular figure
of a woman in the foreground, her body formed by a lush flower....
There is a statement being made about her femininity, womanhood and the
world of dreams..."
"Marilene Sawaf's art
is a blend of bright colors and designs taken from the Mediterranean.
"Born in Egypt and raised in Italy and Lebanon, she has combined
traditional techniques of the countries where she lived to create her
style... "...Much of her inspiration for the design in the clothing and
background is inspired by Oriental carpets as well as Medieval and
Renaissance paintings and designs," said Diane Rietan in her Sunday
Telegraph interview of September 1996.
In general I try to create
an illusion, painting women in rich patterned dresses, who make you
wonder who they are and what they are doing.
The design, the position
of the women's hands, the intriguing expressions of their faces, the
mystery of their environment, create a surrealistic image.
A product of my past
culture, of my present taste for rich colors and enigmatic effects, my
paintings of women are a mysterious reflection of my most subconscious