Essaydi’s “Harem”

“Harem,” by photographer Lalla Essaydi
On view at Edwynn Houk Gallery :: 4 November 2010 – 15 January 2011

Shot in a former harem in Morocco, this stunning photo series features  women swathed in robes that echo the traditional patterns of decorative Moroccan tile. Having navigated the labyrinthine corridors to reach the actual harem quarters, the models are at once camouflaged with the decoration that surrounds them and emerging from the traditional spaces they once occupied.

Essaydi was born in Morocco, raised in Saudi Arabia, educated in Europe and the US, and now living in New York. Her work examines ideas of women in Islamic culture. “In my art,” Essaydi says, “I wish to present myself through multiple lenses — as artist, as Moroccan, as Saudi, as traditionalist, as Liberal, as Muslim. In short, I invite the viewer to resist stereotypes.”

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