Harem #14

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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.
Harem #14

Harem #14


Lalla Essaydi

(Moroccan, b. 1956)

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