Like modern Aphrodites, the subjects of Meriem Bouderbala’s photographs exist in dynamic, sensuous forms. Draped in sheer cloth and elegantly posed, the women in Bouderbala’s photographs are subsumed in engulfing fabrics that mask their bodies while evocatively suggesting their contours. Despite the still nature of the photograph, the mysterious figures appear caught in motion, as tensions within the fabric become tactile and in some places, the fabric splits so a small segment of skin is exposed. The carnal overtones of the subjects fall into the background as apprehension takes the forefront.
In some photographs, the women’s faces reveal themselves. At times, one has the eerie sense these women are trapped behind the fabric. The lightness of the cloth contrasts greatly with the artwork’s heavy message. Bouderbala is a Tunisian-born artist, and one cannot separate the images from controversies surrounding the veil.