Kimberly Chen speaks with Lalla Essaydi for the San Francisco Chronicle

Rhapsodized by painters such as Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres and its representation evaluated by cultural critics like Jill Beaulieu, the harem continues to compel with its loaded pleasures and perils. Moroccan-born, New York City-based artist Lalla Essaydi was no exception - though her fascination is more deeply rooted and personal than most viewers'.

"Harem" - the 2009 series of photographs included in "Lalla Essaydi: Les Femmes du Maroc," the artist's first West Coast one-woman show - was conceived when Essaydi was inexplicably drawn back, repeatedly, to an opulent Moroccan palace that once belonged to the Pasha Glaoui.


Lalla Essaydi "Les Femmes du Maroc" will be on view at Jenkins Johnson Gallery in San Francisco 6 October - 6 December, 2011.