HASSAN HAJJAJ: KESH ANGELS
British-Moroccan artist Hassan Hajjaj captures the unique atmosphere and upbeat rhythm of north-African street iconography with great warmth and humour.
In this new solo show of photographs and installations, he pays tribute to the biker culture of the young women of Marrakesh – the ’Kesh Angels. Directing them in theatrical poses with their scooters, motorcycles and colourful outfits, he creates images that reflect their strength, style and street-smart attitude. In veils and djellabah, the ‘Kesh Angels respect a certain tradition, but their presence is defiantly modern. Hajjaj then juxtaposes these portraits with ephemera from the Medina in unique, handmade frames and bright, Pop-Art colours.
The highlight of the exhibition is an installation of Hajjaj’s customised motorbike, “881-Motobecane”: covered in fashion logos and kitscheries, it is the perfect symbol of the youth, independence, fun, sociability and sunshine of Morocco.
Hassan Hajjaj was born in 1961 in Larache, Morocco and moved to London in 1975. He now works in between London and Marrakech. He has established an international following for his photography, and was shortlisted for the Jameel Prize 2009 at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.
He has had numerous solo and group shows in the UK and internationally, and also designs clothing, album covers (for Momo, Blur and Pino Daniele); hotels (Riad Yima, Marrakesh, 2006); bar-restaurants (Andy Wahloo, Paris 2003); and installations. His work is in the permanent collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.
I will wade out till my thighs are steeped in burning flowers. I will take the sun in my mouth and leap into the ripe air, alive, with closed eyes.
You can’t own a human being. You can’t lose what you don’t own. Suppose you did own him. Could you really love somebody who was absolutely nobody without you? You really want somebody like that? Somebody who falls apart when you walk out the door? You don’t, do you? And neither does he. You’re turning over your whole life to him. Your whole life, girl. And if it means so little to you that you can just give it away, hand it to him, then why should it mean any more to him? He can’t value you more than you value yourself.