Hassan Hajjaj

Fashion photography re-envisioned in an ebullient celebration of culture, colour and pattern.

artist stood in front of two of his paintings looking into the camera
wall of artists studio with three photographs on and colourful framing
artist on floor getting a lower angle taking a photograph of model seated against green patterned wallpaper
5 images

Hassan Hajjaj was born in 1961 in Larache, Morocco, and now lives and works in London, UK.

Accolades

His work has won numerous awards over the last decade, including the Sovereign Middle East Prize and the African Art Prize.

Did you know?

Hajjaj began photographing his friends and their traditions after growing tired of Europeans using Morocco as a background for their fashion shoots. He has since photographed celebrities such as Che Lovelace, Meryem Benm’Barek, Cardi B, Billie Eilish, Will Smith and Madonna. Fame aside, for Hassan each and ever subject is a "rockstar."

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Exhibitions

Practice overview

Hajjaj’s portraits marry Western pop culture with his Moroccan heritage. The brightly coloured, intensely patterned works pair motifs from fashion brands like Louis Vuitton and Nike with traditional North African textiles. This trademark style,  inspired by Malian photographers such as Malick Sidibé and Seydou Keïta, is translated across installation, video, performance and furniture design. At the age of twelve, in 1973, Hajjaj moved from Morocco to London and quickly became inspired by the city’s subcultures - particularly the reggae scene. In the 80s he began his career as a photographer and launched his own fashion brand. Hajjaj calls the friends and contemporaries who he photographs “rockstars.”

Hajjaj’s use of consumerist emblems has seen him dubbed the “Andy Warhol of Marrakech.” However, he criticises this label saying, “it’s really a label that the West has given me, because the West controls the art world. We have to fight extra hard as non-Western artists because of these labels.” So, instead of being an ode to Western Pop art, the use of Coca-Cola cans and tinned food in works like Zezo Tamsamani (2011/1432) and Hindi Rocking (2013/1434) represent symbols of wealth and consumption from the artist’s own childhood. Much like his own experience of migrating from Morocco to the United Kingdom, Hajjaj sees the journeys of these objects as signifiers for migration, trade, globalisation and shape-shifting cultural identities.

“My work is about presenting my people, it’s about giving a key to understand - to open up to another culture.” Hassan Hajjaj