In Untitled I, Feryel Lakhdar depicts a voluptuous nude woman, posing with arms stretched above her head. She is set against a background of flowers, and her body is draped in golden leaves. The...
In Untitled I, Feryel Lakhdar depicts a voluptuous nude woman, posing with arms stretched above her head. She is set against a background of flowers, and her body is draped in golden leaves. The woman is peppered with fabric patches along her face and body, namely her hips, thighs, genitals, neck, breasts, and arms.
The female’s monumental form, reminiscent of the curvaceous Venus Callipyge, fills up the artwork; her oblong face is adorned with black moles and heavy makeup. Black kohl and cherry red lips highlight her seemingly oriental features. Eyes closed, she seems to be comfortably surrounded by a bed of flowers. The blooms are intricate and colorful in shades of blue, orange, and green. They appear to emanate from the woman's curves in the lower corners of the artwork while growing more distant and separate in the upper half. Black solid lines delineate the woman’s contours, including her face, u-shaped nose, and the negative spaces between her limbs.
In Untitled I, as in many of her artworks, Lakhdar boldly showcases her subject’s womanhood and sexuality. The female’s figure in Untitled I, depicted with golden plump flesh, melon breasts, and delineated round shapes, impart great sensuality. Furthermore, Lakhdar’s use of gold, an opulent medium, adds a layer of decadence to the female’s seductive pose and makeup. And the flowers cut out of fabric, distributed as a frame, are enduring symbols of femininity and fecundity.
For Lakhdar, a Tunisian female artist, breaking the taboos around female sexuality was an inherent part of empowering women. This is exemplified in Lakhdar's introduction of textiles into her practice - a long-standing feminist tradition. Traditionally labeled as the "work of women," using textiles slowly transformed into an artistic expression raising feminist awareness. Indeed, ‘covering’ the body’s erotic zones with cut-out fabric draws further attention to those parts and only accentuates the woman's sexuality.
Having long grappled with the role of women in contemporary society, Lakhdar has consistently depicted them as solid and fascinating creatures. In this artwork, the statuesque female figure, a hallmark of the artist’s subjects, announces her commanding presence from the very first glance.