BBC Culture

Hassan Hajjaj and the Hell’s Angels of Marrakesh

(Photo: Hassan Hajjaj/Taymour Grahne Gallery)

(Photo: Hassan Hajjaj/Taymour Grahne Gallery)

An artist pays tribute to the female bikers of Morocco with portraits that flip our expectations.

Hassan Hajjaj was born in Morocco, but moved to London at an early age. The photographer – who designed a menswear collection with designer Amine Bendriouich last year – combines the hip hop and reggae influences of his UK upbringing with a North African aesthetic.

Hajjaj’s portraits of young women wearing traditional Islamic dress while posing on motorbikes appear in his first exhibition in New York, which opens tomorrow at the Taymour Grahne Gallery. As well as photographs and an installation, a video projection will show a woman riding a motorcycle through the Medina.

The artist has two more shows in the US right now: the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is showing a work it recently acquired, the video My Rock Stars, Volume 1, 2012,that features nine musical performances. The musicians wear clothes designed by Hajjaj, mixing traditional fabrics with clothes and shoes from luxury brands.

Meanwhile, Hajjaj’s work at Gusford Gallery in LA is a photographic series portraying his friends as rock stars. Taken in a pop-up studio that travelled through Morocco, London and Paris, the shots bring together the spontaneity of street portraiture with the language of fashion photography.

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