Moroccan-British photographer Hassan Hajjaj’s series The Path is currently on show at Nottingham’s New Art Exchange, and boy does it look to be a colourful, dynamic show that examines everyday objects, brand logos and more to consider the meanings of culture and cultural identity in an increasingly globalised world.
The Path features new works from the artist’s My Rock Stars series alongside a new collection of previously unseen travel photographs titled Between, new works from the Dakka Marrakchia series and a site-specific installation entitled Le Salon (naturally, it looks to be very much a salon-style hang, if a very fresh take on it).
It’s a hugely vibrant show, with every colour oft he rainbow jostling alongside the Sprite cans and tomato tins Hajjaj works into his picture frames.
For this Nottingham-based show, Hajjaj was commissioned to produce a portrait of a resident from the city, inspired by the artist’s My Rockstars series and his ongoing celebrations of everyday people in his work. The Everyday Superstars project encouraged local people to nominate remarkable individuals from the city, such as those campaigning for social change, supporters of young people or those who have found accomplishment in the face of adversity. The Everyday Superstars winner, Nadia Latoya Higgins, was selected by a panel of young people and went on to be styled and photographed by Hajjaj; with her image later placed alongside his other “rock stars”.
Elsewhere in the show is Hajjaj’s Dakka Marrakchia series, in which the artist seeks to portray Muslim women in model-like poses, highlighting the fact they are—unlike many assume—dynamic and empowered.
Hassan Hajjaj was born in Larache, Morocco, and immigrated to London at an early age. Heavily influenced by the club, hip-hop, and reggae scenes of the city, as well as by his North African heritage, Hajjaj is a self-taught artist working across portraiture, installation, performance, fashion, and interior design, including furniture made from recycled objects, such as Coca-Cola crates and aluminium cans.
“Much of Hajjaj’s work focuses on figures whose family origins mostly lie abroad, in Africa, the Caribbean, the Middle East or elsewhere,” says the gallery. “Through this theme, Hajjaj conjures a vision of a society united, not divided, by difference. At a time of major conflict within Britain, Hajjaj’s portraits make an urgent, timely case in favour of hybridity and multiculturalism.”
Hassan Hajjaj: The Path is at New Art Exchange until 23 June 2019.
Hassan Hajjaj, Kesh Angels, 2010
Hassan Hajjaj, Sista, 2000
Hassan Hajjaj, Gang of Marrakesh, 2000
My Rock Stars Series by Hassan Hajjaj at New Art Exchange. Photographer Reece Straw, courtesy of New Art Exchange
Hassan Hajjaj, Karima Stylin’, 2000
Hassan Hajjaj, Hangin’, 2000
Hassan Hajjaj, My Rockstars series, Bumi Sittin’, 2013
Hassan Hajjaj, Pois Bleu, 2000
Hassan Hajjaj, Pois Poulet, 2000
Hassan Hajjaj, My Rockstars series, Marc Hare, 2013
Hassan Hajjaj, Three Women, 2000
Hassan Hajjaj, Dotted Peace, 2000
Hassan Hajjaj Checkers, 2011
Hassan Hajjaj Larache Rooftops, 2011
Hassan Hajjaj On Bike, 2009
Hassan Hajjaj Neon In The Night, 2011
Hassan Hajjaj Marrakesh Hmar Rider, 2010
Hassan Hajjaj Life in Bamako, 2009
Hassan Hajjaj, My Rockstars series, Socks, 2017
Hassan Hajjaj, My Rockstars series, Asheber 2014
Le Salon by Hassan Hajjaj at New Art Exchange. Photographer Reece Straw, courtesy of New Art Exchange
Dakka Marrakchia by Hassan Hajjaj at New Art Exchange. Photographer Reece Straw, courtesy of New Art Exchange