Born in Larache, Morocco, Hassan Hajjaj moved to London at an early age. Turning to photography in the late 80s, Hajjaj is a master portraitist, taking studio portraits of friends, musicians, and artists, often wearing clothes designed by the artist. Heavily influenced by the club, hip-hop, and reggae scenes of London as well as by his North African heritage, Hajjaj’s works feature recycled utilitarian objects from North Africa, such as reversed Coca-Cola crates, stools and aluminum cans turned into lamps. These colorful and engaging portraits combine the visual vocabulary of contemporary fashion photography, pop art and the studio photography of African artist Malick Sidibé, in an intelligent commentary on the influences of tradition in the interpretations of high and low branding and the effects of global capitalism.
Hajjaj’s work is part of the collections of the Brooklyn Museum, New York; the Nasher Museum of Art, Duke University, North Carolina; the Newark Museum, New Jersey; Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Victoria & Albert Museum, London; the Farjam Collection, Dubai; Institut des Cultures d’Islam, Paris; Kamel Lazaar Foundation, Tunisia; Virginia Museum of Fine Art, Richmond, Virginia.