Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

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12 / Conflict and Resistance

Converging Territories #30
Converging Territories #30
Artist / Origin Lalla Essaydi (Moroccan, b. 1956)
Region: Africa
Date 2004/5
Material C-41 print, face-mounted on plexiglass and aluminum
Dimensions H: 30 in. (76.2 cm.), W: 40 in. (101.1 cm)
Credit © 2004 Lalla Essaydi

expert perspective

Lalla EssaydiArtist

Converging Territories #30

» Lalla Essaydi (Moroccan, b. 1956)

expert perspective

I went to art school and I was very curious to learn more about other cultures than mine. I thought I knew enough already. I needed to add a lot more to my own experience living here. And, as I was studying and learning, I realized that for me to understand other cultures I have to go back and understand mine. And so I just started going back home, going back to my own childhood.

The idea of the veil in my work really deals with the veil as a symbol also to emphasize the stereotype that people always associate the veil and oppression and how women are submissive. So I play with that in the sense that I seem to cater to that. In Morocco, really women don’t veil any longer. When I was growing up, calligraphy wasn’t really accessible to me at school. So it was much more accessible to men than to women in that sense. So we always thought of it as high art—a male art, in a sense. The henna is merely a craft, decorating the hands and the feet. So I wanted to merge this male art with female craft and try to make something of a statement with it. The text is really my diary, and it’s the story of these women. And the women become the pages, the chapters.” 

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