Lalla Essaydi

escazpeintolife lessaydi1Converging Territories #11

escapeintolife lessaydI2Les Femmes du Maroc #19

escapeintolife-lessadi3Les Femmes du Maroc – Harem Women Writing

escapeintolife lessaydi 10Les Femems du Maroc #16

escapeintolife lessaydi4Les Femmes du Maroc – The Grand Odalisque

escapeintolife lessaydi5Converging Territories #29

escapeintolife lessaydi6Fumee d’Ambre Gris

escapeintolife lessaydi7Les Femmes du Maroc – Harem Beuaty

escapeintolife_lessaydi8Converging Territories #30

escapeintolife lessaydi9Les Femmes du Maroc – Reclining Odalisque

About the Artist

Lalla Essaydi drains the paintings of color, removes all male figures, drapes the women and all surfaces in white fabric, and sets everything within a shallow stage-like space. All visible surface -backdrops, floor, drapery, skin — are inscribed with Arabic calligraphy. These texts are subversive on several levels. In Islamic cultures calligraphy is a male art form, used primarily to transcribe the Q’uran and other sacred literature; however, in Essaydi’s work, the texts – musings on personal freedom, cultural and individual identity, memory and communication taken from her personal journals – are applied with henna, a tradition associated with women. Her transformations of the original paintings reverberate with the historical past while revealing the colonial and gendered perspectives of historic and contemporary Orientalism.

Lalla Essaydi’s photographic portraits capture a truly feminine spirituality, solitude and purity. Her subjects are always dressed in ghost like white, white being the colour worn by Moroccan women whilst in mourning. She photographs these women in relaxed poses reminiscent of a bygone era, similar to the 18th century orientalist artists who were fascinated with exposing the veiled women of the Harem. Lalla Essaydi’s work continues to expose to the western mind the mystery that surrounds the rituals of Muslim women in the present day.

Lalla Essaydi Bio

Lalla Essaydi Interview

Lalla Essaydi at Lisa Sette Gallery

posted by Carmelita Caruana

5 responses to “Lalla Essaydi”

  1. […] My introduction didn’t really do Lalla Essaydi justice, but you can check out more of her fascinating work here. […]

  2. […] Het werk van Lalla Essaydi (Marokkaanse die nu woont in de VS) spreekt mij ook aan. Voor de serie ‘Converging Territories’ fotografeerde zij vrouwen in doeken gewikkeld waarop hennateksten staan gekaligrafeerd.  In de catalogus van Noorderlicht (Leeuwarden, 2004) waar zij eerder exposeerde en waar ik haar werk leerde kennen, lichtte ze deze serie toe als ‘het geven van een stem aan vrouwen’. Veel van haar werk betreft de vrouwelijke identiteit. Op deze website is de serie ‘Converging Territories’ te zien. […]

  3. […] Lalla Essaydi en escapeintolife (EN [10f]), […]

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