Since 2005, the Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago has thrown DARKROOM as a way to both raise funds for their organization and bring together Chicago’s photography community for an evening of art and celebration. As dedicated sponsors of DARKROOM and long-time partners and custom framers of many featured artists at past MoCP events, we’re always interested in talking about artists who challenge preconceived notions. As the MoCP rolls into its 42nd season, we expect to see a continued push toward exhibitions that peel back the lens on hard-to-broach subjects. In that spirit, they are presenting this year’s Silver Camera Award to an artist who shines a hard spotlight on women’s equality using reflective history, Moroccan photographer Lalla Essaydi.

2018 Darkroom Co-Chair Dawoud Bey Interviews Pat Silver Camera Awardee Deborah Willis

2018 Darkroom Co-Chair Dawoud Bey Interviews Pat Silver Camera Awardee Deborah Willis

Lalla Essaydi currently lives in the United States where she received her MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at TUFTS University in May 2003. Her work is represented by Howard Yezerski Gallery in Boston and Edwynn Houk Gallery in New York City. Her artwork is represented in a number of collections including the Williams College Museum of Art, The Art Institute of Chicago, the Fries Museum, the Netherlands, and The Kodak Museum of Art.

Essaydi’s photographs challenge longstanding Islamic traditions as well as the practice of visually objectifying women throughout the history of art. Returning to her childhood house in Morocco as the setting for her photographs, she covers her female subjects and walls in calligraphy. Considered a sacred Islamic art form and not immediately accessible to women, she utilizes this component of her photos to further push against traditional social boundaries and dynamics.

Lalla Essaydi Les femmes du Maroc 22B (small)

Lalla Essaydi, Les Femmes du Maroc #22B, 2005, Courtesy of the Artist

The MoCP’s DARKROOM event starts at 5:30 pm on Thursday, February 28th at VenueSix10 on Michigan Avenue and the auction is already live in Paddle8. You can bid on Lalla Essaydi’s Les Femmes du Maroc #22B on Paddle8 to support the MoCP’s future exhibitions, public programs, and community engagement initiatives. Check out Seaberg’s partnered artists when you attend DARKROOM