The subjects in Hassan Hajjaj’s portraits are his friends, musicians, artists, and people on the streets of Marrakesh. They are typically photographed in outfits created by the artist, who is also a fashion designer. Influenced by the studio photography of Malick Sidibé, Hajjaj infuses pattern and vibrant colors into his images. The frame is made of matchboxes, each cradled in its own section, transforming it into a sculpture. Hajjaj often uses 3-D objects from consumer culture, like Coca-Cola cans, matchboxes, or canned tomatoes, in his frames. For Hajjaj, these objects evoke a sense of nostalgia for North Africa, and he has said that he is “trying to create something which has as much of [my] identity as possible.”
Born in Larache, Morocco, in 1961, Hassan Hajjaj moved to the United Kingdom with his family at the age of 13. His work is in the collections of the Brooklyn Museum, the Newark Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Institut des Cultures d’Islam, the Tang Teaching Museum, and more. Hajjaj has also been featured in important art fairs like the Contemporary African Art Fair, London, 2016. The artist divides his time between London and Marrakesh.
From the exhibition: Africa Pop Studio (April 1 – April 23, 2017)