Essaydi explores the complexities of Arab female identity, covering her subjects, their clothing and surroundings with auto-biographical, yet incomplete text. Essaydi states: 'I am going beyond simple critique to a more active, even subversive, engagement with cultural patterns to convey my own experience as an Arab woman caught somewhere between past and present, as well as between "East" and "West."'
The painter, videographer and photographer Lalla Essaydi has emerged as one of the most significant contemporary Arab women artists. Raised in Morocco, she married into the Saudi royal family and obtained her MFA from Boston's Tufts University. Now divorced, she divides her time between New York City and Morocco.