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Hassan Hajjaj, the master of Moroccan Pop Art

FASHION – The Moroccan artist, photographer and designer Hassan Hajjaj, the master of Moroccan Pop Art, finds his happiness in the capitalist pop mix. This artist, comes from a dual culture, living in Morocco and England, he takes his ideas from the markets: “I live in the medina in Marrakech, I live in Camden Lock in London, I even sold flowers on a stand there in the early 80s. The market is in my blood.” His father emigrated to England to clean in restaurants, he joined him at the age of 13 in 1973. At 15, Hajjaj left school and lived without conviction, between unemployment and gardening. The organization of parties and the opening of a streetwear boutique in Covent Garden (RAP, Real Artistic People) where DJs meet in the basement, confirm his talent for cultural mixing. He sells counterfeit branded clothing at affordable prices. “When you come from a disadvantaged background, you want to become rich, have a good life, attract attention, own a private jet, it’s a dream. These signed clothes are a small part of the cake you can afford,” he said.

 

Humble, gifted for commerce and exchanges, Hajjaj has difficulty considering himself as an artist but what he likes is to do things from scratch, with what he has at hand: the people he meets, the cans of everyday life, the cans, the colored fabric… In his photos, the veil is an accessory stamped Dolce & Gabbana or Gucci, tied with counterfeit fabrics bought on the corner of the street. In his journey, many artists came to see him and pose for him.

In August 2018, on the occasion of her birthday, celebrated in Marrakech, Madonna and her entourage went to Riad Yima to take a series of photos with the Anglo-Moroccan artist:

Hassan Hajjaj was also on the cover of the famous New York Magazine, which features American rapper Cardi B. A shot that immerses us in Hassan Hajjaj’s ultra-colored universe, perfect to accompany the American star’s uncomplicated bling-bling style. Dressed in a coat and sunglasses, in a totally pink look, the former stripper who became a star of social networks and reality TV, now a rising star of American rap, Cardi B posed in an offbeat and captivating setting, signed Hassan Hajjaj. Recognizable for his original photographs and ultra-colored portraits, the Moroccan combines in his photos “hssira”, the famous braided plastic mats emblematic of Morocco, with cans, paint cans and other boxes of lemonade, transforming them into joyfully shifted works of art. Under his objective, it is Cardi B who reveals herself as a true icon of an alternative fashion.

Couple years ago, in March 2017, even the American actor Will Smith met the artist Hassan Hajjaj in his house in Marrakech, the latter having invited many Moroccan creators, actors, and musicians, such as the actress Sarah Perles, the actor Omar Lotfi or the creators and designers Amine Bendriouich, Fadila El Gadi and Yassine Morabite.

Also an artist, Yassine Morabite gave Will Smith two paintings depicting his children Jaden and Willow:

Drawing of Jaden Smith by Yassine Morabite
DR/ Yassine Morabite
Drawing of Willow Smith by Yassine Morabite
DR/ Yassine Morabite

Another famous person who came to see Hassan Hajjaj was an American actress and businesswoman: Jessica Alba. She was in Marrakech in April 2019 to attend the Dior 2020 Cruise Collection fashion show (and celebrate her birthday in passing), which definitely was not the only fashion event that took place in Marrakech like for instance: “Lost in Marrakech”: Philosophy’s spring-summer 2019 campaign, who took a stroll in the Ochre City.

On the occasion, accompanied by her husband, producer, and entrepreneur Cash Warren, they visited the Marrakchi workshop of the Moroccan artist Hassan Hajjaj. A visit during which the actress, was shot by the photographer, in a very kitsch look, as the artist appreciates them, all in peas:

Also in 2019, the Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova who was traveling in Marrakech has succumbed to the charm of the ochre city. After a trip to the souk and a stroll in the medina, she went to visit the studio of the Moroccan-British photographer Hassan Hajjaj, whose studio has become over the years the landmark of the stars. The blonde thus joins the long list of celebrities who have passed in front of the Moroccan photographer’s lens.

 

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