Follow us
Dalloul Art Foundation
LALLA ASSAYDI LALLA ASSAYDI

LALLA ASSAYDI, Morocco (1956)

Bio

Lalla Essaydi is a Moroccan contemporary painter, photographer, and installation artist, who was born in 1956, in Marrakesh. In 1972, Lalla moved to Paris to attend high school. After that, she...

Lalla Essaydi is a Moroccan contemporary painter, photographer, and installation artist, who was born in 1956, in Marrakesh. In 1972, Lalla moved to Paris to attend high school. After that, she returned to Morocco, got married, then moved to Saudi Arabia where she raised her two children. In the early 1990s, she returned to Paris and finished her degree in painting from École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts.

While in Paris, the artist discovered the work of orientalists such as Jean-Léon Gérôme from the 19th-century. Gérôme’s paitings represent salacious images of harems and seductive nudes, that was observed and appreciated by the Western male audience. The audacity behind his artworks portrayed a sense of fiction and inspired the Moroccan artist by exquisite artistic techniques.  

Essaydi moved to Boston in 1996, then she finished her Bachelor degree in Fine Arts from Tufts University in 1999. In 2003, Lalla earned her MFA in painting and photography from the school of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

Lalla Essaydi’s techniques touch the core of traditional stereotypes, and put into question realizations about the veil, the harem, and the odalisque. Throughout her artworks, the artist expresses her vision by creating powerful photographs, juxtaposing fantasy and reality about Arab cultural heritage in-between the past and the present. The artist’ artwork is based on memorial references from her early childhood years in her native Morocco. Essaydi introduces several social and cultural interpretations of traditional Moroccan elements, including Moroccan women and their calligraphic henna tradition, amongst many other elements such as mosaic, tiles, and Islamic architecture.

The artist currently lives in New York City.

LALLA ASSAYDI Artwork