Biography

Photographer, designer and filmmaker Hassan Hajjaj has strong ties to both Morocco and the UK. Born in the fishing town of Larache, Morocco in 1961 Hassan moved to London aged 12. Growing up immersed in London's club culture as it was emerging and taking shape during his teen years heavily influenced Hajjaj's practice and approach to creativity.

 

Reconnecting with his birthplace after a visit in the early 90s, Hassan saw the surroundings of his childhood through new eyes. Despite efforts to break down the class hierarchies and ambient racism of the time, stereotypes around Moroccan life still existed even amongst Hassan’s London peers, much to his dismay. A desire to subvert the conventional views of Morocco drove the artist to create works that reflect the country’s cultural mélange, encompassing both the ordinary and the vibrant.

 

Best known for his photography, Hassan’s practice focuses mainly on maximalist portraits of various characters from international musicians to unique personas which he casts in his photoshoots. Subjects are ornately framed and accessorized with colorful everyday items readily available from local markets. The artist seizes control by disorganizing expectations, merging Moroccan culture with his distinct hip-hop flair. Hajjaj refers to the frequent comparisons of his work to that of Andy Warhol in his merchandize ‘Andy Wahloo’, a play on words that translates in Arabic to “I have nothing”.

 

Hajjaj’s selected solo shows include: The Path, Arnolfini, London, UK (2020), Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris, France (2019); Hassan Hajjaj: The Path, New Art Exchange, Nottingham, UK (2019); La Salle de Gym des Femmes Arabes, Al Riwaq Art Space, Adliya, Bahrain (2017); La Caravane, Somerset House, London, UK (2017); La Salle de Gym des Femmes Arabes, The Third Line, Dubai, UAE (2016); Hassan Hajjaj, My Rock Stars Experimental, Vol.1, Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, USA (2015); Kesh Angels, Taymour Grahne Gallery, New York, USA (2014); My Rock Stars: Volume 2, Gusford Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, USA (2014); My Rock Stars: Volume 1, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA, USA (2014, travelled from The Third Line, Dubai, and Virginia Commonwealth University, USA); Kesh Angels, Rose Issa Projects, London (2010); Fashion in Motion, Victoria & Albert Museum, London (2005).

 

Hajjaj’s work has been exhibited internationally in many exhibitions including Material Insanity, Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden (MACAAL), Marrakesh, Morocco (2019); the African Metropolis: An Imaginary City, Maxxi National Museum, Rome, Italy (2018); National Gallery of Victoria Triennial, Melbourne, Australia (2017); Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK (2017); Treasures of Islam in Africa. From Timbuktu to Zanzibar, Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris, France (2017); Fashion Cities Africa, Brighton Museum, UK (2016); Islamic Art Now: Contemporary Art of the Middle East, LACMA, Los Angeles, USA (2015); True to Life?-New Photography from the Middle East, Birmingham of Art Gallery, Birmingham, UK (2014); Light from the Middle East, Victoria & Albert Museum, London (2013); We are not Witches, Saatchi Gallery, London (2010); Africa Remix, Hayward Gallery, London (2005) and Contemporary African Visual Arts, British Museum, London (2005).

 

Hassan Hajjaj’s works have been acquired by the Guggenheim, Abu Dhabi; MAXXI National Museum, Rome; Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden (MACAAL), Marrakesh; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Brooklyn Museum, New York; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; and the British Museum, London.

 

The artist lives and works between London and Marrakech.

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