Indepth Arts News: |
"Lalla Essaydi: Converging Territories"
2005-01-06 until 2005-02-26
Laurence Miller Gallery
New York, NY,
USA United States of America
Laurence Miller Gallery takes pleasure in presenting Converging Territories, the first New York one-person show of Moroccan-born artist Lalla Essaydi. Converging Territories is a series of large-format color portraits of women and children taken in a large, unoccupied, family-owned house in Morocco, the same house that as a young woman Essaydi was confined to for a month at
a time whenever she transgressed her permissible roles.
Revisiting that house, Essaydi creates a mysterious and timeless space
with a cloth background, entirely covered with Islamic calligraphy that she
herself has written in henna. She then painstakingly covers the women and
children with henna before photographing them in front of the cloth.
Essaydi's intent is to explore cultural patterns within both Arab and
Western societies, to reach beyond stereotypes, and to convey her own
experience as an Arab woman. She states: "Through these images I am able to
suggest the complexity of Arab female identity - as I have known it - and
the tension between hierarchy and fluidity at the heart of Arab culture."
Representative of the show is Converging Territories #21, a four-part
sequence showing the progression from childhood to womanhood and from public
to private identity. Converging Territories #29 shows a single woman,
completely hidden except for one foot covered in henna, about to step into
the background. Converging Territories #10 shows the artist from behind,
seated on the henna-covered cloth while writing in calligraphy.
After a childhood spent in Morocco , Lalla Essaydi spent many years in
Saudi Arabia , where she began her basic art education. She attended the
L'Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris during the early 1990's, then received her
BFA from Tufts University in 1999. In 2003, she received her MFA from Tufts
University/The School of the Museum of Fine Arts , Boston .
Essaydi's photographs are currently on exhibit at The Art Institute of
Chicago in About Face, in NAZAR: Photographs from the Arab World, presented
by the Noorderlicht Foundation, Holland , and at Williams College Museum in
In the Company of Women. The DeCordova Museum in Lincoln , Massachusetts ,
will exhibit a selection from Converging Territories in their Annual
Exhibition this summer. In conjunction with the current exhibition at Laurence Miller Gallery, powerHouse Books will publish an illustrated
monograph under the same title, and Aperture will publish a portfolio of
images in February.
Converging Territories # 9, 2004
33 1/4 x 40 3/4"