Back home, under wraps



"Bullets Revisited #8''  (C-41 photographic print mounted on aluminum), by LALLA ESSAYDI, in the show "Beyond the Veil,'' at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, through March 20.

The gallery says the show "explores the complexities of Arab female identity, both from an insider's experience of her own Moroccan childhood, and with the outsider perspective of a Western-trained artist.''

The pictures are part of a "collaborative performance project that takes place in her childhood home in Morocco with female friends and family members.''

"{T}hese women use calligraphy, bullet casings, henna, their bodies and their gaze to subvert traditional and imposed notions of gender, ethnicity and identity.''

She's lucky to have escaped, at least in  part, Arab culture, with its often horrendous treatment of women and of  members of other religions faced with the brutal bigotry of some versions of Islam. She now lives relatively safely in the U.S., away from 7th Century ideas of women's place in the world.