Apr 25, 2012

Harem #14

Harem #14


Lalla Essaydi

(Moroccan, b. 1956)

Chromogenic print mounted to aluminum with a UV protective laminate

Overall: 101.6 x 76.2 cm (40 x 30 in.)

The Severance and Greta Millikin Purchase Fund 2012.14



Lalla Essaydi examines the role of Muslim women by applying layers of Arabic calligraphy by hand with henna on the faces and feet of the two young women whose camouflaged dress mimics the colorful wall tiles in an elaborate Moroccan house belonging to her family. Rather than representing the harem as the euphoric anxiety-free place of the Western imagination, Essaydi is portraying its historical reality as, she says, "a dangerous frontier where sacred law and pleasure collide." Young women who disobeyed were confined in this beautiful house—accompanied only by servants—for a month in silence.

See also

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance, may not be currently accurate. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@clevelandart.org.

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

All images and data available through Open Access can be downloaded for free. For images not available through Open Access, a detail image, or any image with a color bar, request a digital file from Image Services.