Lalla Essaydi (Moroccan, b. 1956)
Lots are subject to 5% import Duty on the importat… Read more
Lalla Essaydi (Moroccan, b. 1956)

Bullets #5

Lalla Essaydi (Moroccan, b. 1956)
Bullets #5
signed 'Lalla Essaydi' (on a paper label affixed to the reverse)
chromogenic print mounted on aluminium
77 x 88¼in. (195.5 x 224cm.)
Executed in 2009; this work is number one from an edition of five
Special notice

Lots are subject to 5% import Duty on the importation value (low estimate) levied at the time of collection shipment within UAE. For UAE buyers, please note that duty is paid at origin (Dubai) and not in the importing country. As such, duty paid in Dubai is treated as final duty payment. It is the buyer's responsibility to ascertain and pay all taxes due.

Lot Essay

"My photographs grew out of the need I felt to document actual spaces, specially the space of my childhood. At a certain point, I realized that in order to go forward as an artist, it was necessary to return physically to my childhood home in Morocco and to document this world which I had left in a physical sense, but of course, never fully in any deeper, more psychological sense.

It is obvious that while my photographs are expressions of my own personal history, they can also be taken as reflections on the life of Arab women in general. But my work reaches beyond Islamic culture to invoke the Western fascination, as expressed in painting, with the odalisque, the veil, and, of course, the harem. Here is another way in which my work cannot be read simply as a critique of Arab culture. Images of the harem and the odalisque still penetrate the present and I use the Arab female body to disrupt that tradition. I want the viewer to become aware of Orientalism as a projection of the sexual fantasies of Western male artists--in other words as a voyeuristic tradition.

In photographing women inscribed with henna, I emphasize on their decorative role, but subvert the silence of confinement. These women "speak" visually to each other, creating a space that is both hierarchical and fluid. Furthermore, the calligraphic writing, a sacred Islamic art form, inaccessible to women, constitutes an act of rebellion.

As an artist now living in the West, I have become aware of another space, besides the house of my girlhood, an interior space, one of "converging territories". I will always carry that house within me, but my current life has added other dimensions. There is the very different space I inhabit in the West, a space of independence and mobility. When I look at these spaces now, I see two cultures that have shaped me and that are distorted when looked at through the "Orientalist" lens of the West. I speak of my thoughts and experiences directly, both as a woman caught somewhere between past and present, as well as between "East" and "West", and also as an artist, exploring the language in which to "speak" from this uncertain space".

Lalla Essaydi

Related Articles

View all
Updated: art exhibitions and e auction at Christies
Printemps Asiatique: highlight auction at Christies
The missing piece of a Renaiss auction at Christies

More from Modern and Contemporary Arab, Iranian and Turkish Art Part I

View All
View All