French Picture Postcard, The French Colonies: Morocco, Hand-drawn colored map, Pre-1956, Paris. The dotted borders define the two colonial states controlling Morocco from1912-1956: in the north, the Spanish Protectorate in Morocco with its capital in the port city of Tetouán; and in the south, the larger French Protectorate, administratively centered at Fez.
Postcard No. 6611 from a French Series, Scenes and Types: Arab Girl, Photograph, c. 1912-1956. The girl’s jewelry and striped, colorful garments suggest she is dressed in Berber rather than Arab clothing and reveal the postcard publisher’s superficial understanding of the ethnic diversity in the French colony.
French Picture Postcard, The City of Tangier – The Grand Souk (Market) and the Casbah (Fortified Old City), Photograph, Pre-1909. The outdoor market with tents and horses is seen at the far right. On the reverse is the postmark “16 June 1909” from the Island of Mallorca, Spain, and a handwritten message in Spanish.
Spanish Picture Postcard, The City of Tetuán – A Street in the City’s Muslim Quarter (Labeled in Spanish, French and German), Photograph, c. 1912-1956, Printed in Zaragoza, Spain. Tetuán is Morocco’s major port city on the Mediterranean Sea.
French Picture Postcard, Settat. Market Day (Labeled in French and English), Photograph, c. 1912-1956, Printed by Flandrin Publishers in Casablanca, Morocco. Travellers’ tents and pack animals are set up for a
weekly market near Settat (between Rabat and Marakkesh).
Postcard No. 50.041 from a French Series, Saharan Collection. The Last Prayer Before Departure (Across the Sahara Desert),
Photograph, c. 1912-1956, Printed by La Cigogne Publishers in Casablanca, Morocco. A Muslim traveler breaks for prayer.
Postcard No. 95.001.74 from a French Series, Scenes and Types: Arab Interior, Photograph, c. 1912-1956, Printed by La Cigogne Publishers in Casablanca, Morocco. Lalla Essaydi’s photograph Harem #10 in the adjacent gallery is shot in a similar Moroccan palace with tiled courtyard and paving.
Postcard No. 1515 from a French Series, Our French Sailors in the Port of Algers, Chatting Under the Palm Trees, Hand-drawn and colored, Pre-1956, France. This provocative image suggests the sexual market in North Africa for the colonial military.
Postcard No. 95.001.92 from a French Series, Scenes and Types: Beside the Fountain, Photograph, Pre-1956, Printed by La Cigogne Publishers in Casablanca, Morocco. In this staged photograph, the direct gazes and provocative gestures of the two female figures suggest that Arab women are open to the sexual advances of male postcard viewers. Lalla Essaydi’s own photographs of Arab women gazing directly at the camera, including Les Femmes du Maroc #21B shown in the adjacent gallery, challenge these notions.
Postcard No. 347 from a French Series, Mauresques (Moorish Women, or Arab Women of North Africa), Photograph, Early 1900’s, Printed by Collection Idéale, France. This staged photograph set against a neutral studio backdrop presents an idealized rendering of the veiled, modest Islamic woman, and offers a counterpoint to the exotic, sexualized portrayal of Arab women without the veil. Essaydi’s work draws upon such colonial constructions, as in her photograph, Les Femmes du Maroc #1 in the adjacent gallery. Also noteworthy in the figure at right is the dark henna dye, which covers her left hand. Essaydi uses henna throughout her compositions to inscribe Arabic calligraphy on the hands, faces, and bodies of her female subjects, and on the textiles which surround the figures.