Hassan Hajjaj

Hassan Hajjaj re-envisions fashion photography in an ebullient celebration of culture, colour and pattern.

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 is also used across installation, video, performance, and furniture design.

 

 

Highlights
  • Maison Marocaine de la Photographie, solo show at Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris, 2019
  • Hassan Hajjaj: La Caravane, solo show at Somerset House, London, 2017
  • Hassan Hajjaj: My Rock Stars, solo show at Newark Museum, New Jersey, 2015
  • Winner of the Sovereign Middle East Prize, 2011
  • Winner of African Art Prize, 2011
  • Work in collections including The Brooklyn Museum, New York City; The British Museum, London; The Nasher Museum of Art, Nasher; Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; The Victoria & Albert Museum, London; The Farjam Collection, Dubai; Guggenheim Museum, Abu Dhabi; Institut des Cultures d’Islam, Paris
Hassan Hajjaj Studio Shoot

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, Hajjaj began his career as a photographer in parallel to the launch of his fashion brand R.A.P (Real Artistic People). Hajjaj calls the friends and contemporaries who he photographs “rock stars.” Many are creatives themselves, from artists like Che Lovelace to the filmmaker Meryem Benm’Barek, plus a host of A-list appearances from the likes of Cardi B, Billie Eilish, Will Smith and Madonna.

 

Khadijia by Hassan Hajjaj
Khadija, Hassan Hajjaj, 2010/1431. Courtesy of the artist.
Cardi B Unity by Hassan Hajjaj
Cardi B. Unity, Hassan Hajjaj, 2017/1438. Courtesy of the artist and Yossi Milo Gallery.
“I just took pictures. It was more to hang out with people, to listen to music and create a mood.”

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.

Zero Tamsamani by Hassan Hajjaj
Zero Tamsamani, Hassan Hajjaj, 2011/1432. Courtesy of the artist.
Hindi Rockin' by Hassan Hajjaj
Hindi Rocking, Hassan Hajjaj, 2013/1434. Courtesy of the artist and L'Atelier 21, Casablanca, Morocco.

With empathy at its core, Hajjaj’s practice is driven by his admiration for the human spirit. “My work is about presenting my people, it’s about giving a key to understand — to open up to another culture,” he says. In this respect, Malian photographers such as Malick Sidibé and Seydou Keïta have had a strong impact on Hajjaj’s work. However, unlike Sidibé and Keïta, whose portraits celebrate the youth culture of a specific society, Hajjaj explains that he would like to “touch upon different identities and represent people coming from all over.”

Hassan Hajjaj Studio Shoot
Hassan Hajjaj on set at Ain EL Helweh, a Palestinian refugee camp in Beyrouth, photographed by Jenny Fremont. (2018/1439)
Hassan Hajjaj Studio Shoot
Hassan Hajjaj on set shooting Malikah in Dubai, photographed by Jenny Fremont. (2016/1437)
“My work is a mirror of what’s happening in my life and of what’s happening globally.”

Without doubt, Hajjaj’s artworks are a unifying force for their global audience. Through his exuberant oeuvre Hajjaj pays tribute to city culture everywhere — embodying the joy and beauty of humanity and difference.

All artworks courtesy of Hassan Hajjaj.
Studio shoot by Tim Craig.

IN THE STUDIO WITH
HASSAN HAJJAJ
Hassan Hajjaj Studio Shoot
Hassan Hajjaj Studio Shoot
Hassan Hajjaj Studio Shoot
Hassan Hajjaj Studio Shoot
Hassan Hajjaj Studio Shoot
Hassan Hajjaj Studio Shoot
Hassan Hajjaj Studio Shoot
Hassan Hajjaj Studio Shoot
GET UPDATES ON Hassan Hajjaj

Be the first to hear about our upcoming projects with Hassan Hajjaj

Get Updates
portrait_subscribe