Lalla Essaydi, ‘Bullets Revisited #21’, 2013, Edwynn Houk Gallery

About Lalla Essaydi

Lalla Essaydi was born in Morocco and spent part of her childhood in Saudi Arabia, before studying art in Paris and Boston. She combines these influences in her photography, which features Moroccan women laced with the stereotypes and loaded imagery of Orientalist paintings by the likes of Jean-Léon Gérôme, Eugène Delacroix, and John Singer Sargent. She covers the images with a loose rendering of Arabic script, illegible and written in henna—a reference to both the traditionally male art of calligraphy and the traditionally female art of henna. “Ultimately I wish for my work to be as vividly present and yet as elusive as ‘woman’ herself,” Essaydi has said. “Not simply because she is veiled or turns away, but because she is still in progress.”

Moroccan, b. 1956, Marrakesh, Morocco, based in New York, New York