Born in Marrakech, Morocco, in 1956, Lalla Essaydi was nearly 40 when she studied painting in Paris. She received her bachelors from Tufts University in 1999, and a Maters of Fine Arts from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, both in Boston. Between 2005 and 2009, Essaydi had 10 solo exhibits in the United States, Kuwait, Morocco, London and the Netherlands. Essaydi uses photography as a political statement for contemporary Muslim women’s empowerment. Essaydi responds to 19th Century European and American painters who had depicted women in the Middle East as submissive, lazy and exotic. Essaydi re-stages famous paintings, and portrays women with more contemporary body language. All of her models are Arab women.