‘Kesh Angels is a solo exhibition of work by Moroccan-born, UK-based artist, Hassan Hajjaj. Running 28 January until 2 March at Taymour Grahne Gallery, the presentation marks Hajjaj’s first show in New York. The display offers a unique look at the vibrant street culture of Morocco and pays tribute to the biker culture of the young women of Marrakesh through a series of photographs, limited edition objects, an installation, and a video.
Playing with stereotypes, the influence of branding and the familiarity of everyday objects, Hajjaj’s work seeks to come to terms with a myriad of influences, items, and cultural signifiers. His vibrant portraits feature confident, upbeat young women wearing veils and djellabah while posing on motorcycles, subverting the preconceived notions of Arab women. Although his subjects are traditionally dressed they are clearly modern in attitude as they embody youth, independence and fun.
The unique images reflect the tradition of African studio photography and the glamorous style of a fashion shoot. Hajjaj’s practice mixes the personal with the political. All of his individual subjects are framed by consumer goods, literally trapped in the photograph by the influence of culture and branding. The handcrafted inlaid wood frames are made up of quotidian branded objects like soda cans and Moroccan packaging, combining the old with the new, responding to and completing the works in the same instance.
Hassan Hajjaj: ‘Kesh Angels, 28 January – 8 March, Taymour Grahne Gallery, 157 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10013.
1. Khadija, 2010/1431, Metallic, Lambda Print On 3mm White, Dibond, Edition of 7, 53.5h x 36.77w in (135.9h x 93.4w) cm / Courtesy of Hassan Hajjaj and Taymour Grahne Gallery, New York, NY.