Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Lalla Essaydi

Modern Kicks reports today on the 2005 DeCordova Museum's Annual Exhibition. The report from Modern Kicks: " those of you who haven't already been hearing a lot about Lalla Essaydi, expect to do so."

Encouraged by Modern Kicks prompting I add my thoughts about Lalla Essaydi:

The Boston based photographer Lalla Essaydi grew up in Morocco. Her childhood experiences in a remote family residence inspired a return visit two decades later in which Lalla began a series of images that she recently described to T. Trent Gegax in Newsweek's International Edition as her reinterpretation of "the Arab female. We're always seen as the woman who's oppressed, when we're actually negotiating every day."

Essaydi creates and then photographs henna scripted tableaux of women in draped interiors. Essaydi's henna calligraphy runs across figures, skin, floors and walls. The arabic words comprise, as reported by Gegax, "Essaydi's stream-of-consciousness diary ("I am a book that has no ending. Each page I write could be the first...")

 lalla essaydi
Lalla Essaydi "Territories #29"
40 3/4" x 33 1/4" chromogenic print 2004

Gegax continues:
"The calligraphy, an art form that until the past decade was not taught to Moroccan women, took three weeks for each image. Through her works, Essaydi, now in her 40s, gives voice to a complex generation of Arab women—Western and Eastern, traditionalist and liberal, secular and Muslim."


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