and now for my next trick

harem beauty no 2

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She looks like she’s from Peter Greenaway’s Pillow Book, Lalla Essaydi’s Harem Beauty No 2.

“According to Islamic traditions, the street is the domain of the male, and women are condemned to live indoors. There they are in fact nothing more than decoration, suggests photographer Lalla Essaydi, a situation she visualises in Converging Territories. Essaydi places Islamic women in an isolated space and literally decorates them with texts written in henna. The texts – a reversal of the silence of their isolation – give the women a voice, with which they can speak to the space and to one another. The rebellious character of the photographs is magnified by the fact that within Islam calligraphy may not be practised by women.

Lalla Essaydi was born and raised in Morocco, but lives in the United States. Converging Territories was photographed in the house in which women from her family were sometimes locked up for weeks if they had transgressed the rules of Islam.” (FromNoorderlicht Photofesstival 2004.)


Written by Peter Rudd

January 9, 2010 at 4:51 am

Posted in photography

Tagged with , , ,

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