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Living Legend Lalla Esaydi

Written by Monteagudo

Lalla Essaydi is a Moroccan photographer that is well-known for her portraits that promote female empowerment. Her photographs depict women in hijabs’, burqas’, or without either of these which is a promotion of Arabic freedom from the suppression in which the religion says they have to wear these garments. Essaydi was born in Marrakech, Morocco in 1956 where she was relocated often. In 1996, she moved to Boston to pursue her career in the arts.
Growing up in Morocco where after 1972 a democratic, constitutional monarch was established, she was influenced by her liberal views to pursue the fight of women’s rights in the United States of America.
Lalla Essaydi, coming to Massachusetts, pursued her studies in video, film, installation, and analog photography. She is now based in New York City where she has a career in taking pictures for the Feminist movement. Her work has been reviewed by art critics from all over the world from Switzerland to San Diego. Her photography galleries are based in New York, Zurich, Boston, Marrakech, and London. Each one of her photography galleries has been stressed by her to an uplifting gallery to explore the complexity of, as she is, Arab women.
Essaydi often depicts women in their wraps to promote the cultural influence that Arabic women have on modern day cultural appropriation. Being a women’s rights activist, Lalla has strictly allowed herself to photograph women as she believes that men have “taken over the photography world closing off the opportunity to women of color to have a voice”.
“In my art, I wish to present myself through multiple lenses — as artist, as Moroccan, as traditionalist, as Liberal, as Muslim. In short, I invite viewers to resist stereotypes.”
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About the author


Miguel Monteagudo is new to the Knightly News.