Artist News

NPR Covers Hassan Hajjaj

12 February 2014

Kesh Angels, 2010/1431, Edition of 7, Metallic Lambda Print on 3mm White Dibond, 39.8h x 54.17w in / 101h x 137.6w cm

Rider, 2010/1431, Edition of 10, Metallic Lambda Print on 3mm White Dibond, 24.49h x 35.63w in / 62.2h x 90.5w cm

Fez, 2000/1421, Giclee Print with Acrylic Painted Tire Frame, 20h x 16w in / 50.8h x 40.6w cm

Malicious Look, 2000/1421, Giclee Print with Acrylic Painted Tire Frame, 20h x 16w in / 50.8h x 40.6w cm

M., 2010/1431, Edition of 7, Metallic Lambda Print On 3mm White Dibond, 52.36h x 36.85w in / 133h x 93.6w cm

Nisrin, 2010/1431, Edition of 7, Metallic Lambda on 3 mm white Dibond, 53.5 x 36.77 in / 135.89 x 93.4 cm

Marakshi, 2000/1421, Giclee Print with Acrylic Painted Tire Frame, 20h x 16w in / 50.8h x 40.6w cm

Fendi Girl, 2000/1421, Giclee Print with Acrylic Painted Tire Frame, 20h x 16w in / 50.8h x 40.6w cm

Gang of Marrakesh, 2000/1421, C-Type on Fuji Crystal, 50.98h x 37w in / 129.5h x 94w cm

Nikee Rider, 2007/1428, Metallic Lambda Print On 3mm White Dibond, 35.31h x 24.41w in / 89.7h x 62w cm

Khadija, 2010/1431, Edition of 7, Metallic Lambda Print On 3mm White Dibond, 53.5h x 36.77w in / 135.9h x 93.4w cm

 

In the 1990s, Hassan Hajjaj assisted on a magazine photo shoot in Marrakesh when he had a realization: All the models, the photographer and even the clothes were from another country. Morocco, the country he grew up in, was simply the backdrop.

 

"From then I said it'd be great to present my people in their environment in their kind of way of dressing," he says in an interview on NPR's Morning Edition, "and play with it in that fashion way."

 

So Hajjaj began photographing his friends — savvy, smart women who live and work in his neighborhood in Marrakesh — for his playfully titled photo series "Kesh Angels." He photographs them dressed in veils and traditional robes, called djellabahs, poised atop motorcycles and smiling behind stylish sunglasses.

 

"All those elements I take and try to rebrand them," he says. "I'm just highlighting my culture with the bike culture."

 

Hajjaj's work is currently on exhibit at the Taymour Grahne Gallery in New York and the Gusford Gallery in Los Angeles. His other work will be housed at the Marrakech Museum for Photography and Visual Art (MMPVA), opening in 2016. MMPVA will be the biggest photography museum in Africa, according to Hajjaj. He is one of 10 Moroccan photographers whose work was chosen for the MMPVA collection.

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