Lalla A. Essaydi grew up in Morocco, and lived in Saudi Arabia for Many years. She now lives in Boston, where she received her MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in May 2003. Essaydi’s work is represented by Schneider Gallery in Chicago and by Edwynn Houk Gallery, in New York City. Her work has been exhibited in many major U.S. cities, including Boston, Chicago, Minneapolis, Texas, Buffalo, Colorado, and New York, and is represented in a number of collections, including the Williams College Museum of Art and The Art Institute of Chicago. Her art, which often combines Islamic calligraphy with representations of the female body, addresses the complex reality of Arab female identity from the unique perspective of personal experience. In much of her work, she returns to her Moroccan girlhood, looking back on it as an adult woman caught somewhere between past and present, and as an artist, exploring the language in which to “speak” from this uncertain space. Her paintings often appropriate Orientalist imagery from the Western painting tradition, thereby inviting viewers to reconsider the Orientalist mythology. She has worked in numerous media, including painting, video, film, installation, and analog photography.
"In my art, I wish to present myself through multiple lenses -- as artist, as Moroccan, as Saudi, as traditionalist, as Liberal, as Muslim. In short, I invite viewers to resist stereotypes."