Wandering through the claustrophobic alleys of the Marrakshi souks, one might get overwhelmed by the vibrating activity everywhere around. Former managing editor Vanessa and I found ourselves wanting to escape the intensity of the Medina once and a while and therefore sought refuge in the many treasures that lie hidden behind unnoticeable doors to drink some Moroccan whiskey (sugared mint tea). It’s easy to miss these oasises, but luckily one afternoon we ended up in the inspiring colourful spot Riad Yima – salon de thé and exhibition room for the art of British-Moroccan artist Hassan Hajjaj.
This ‘Moroccan Warhol’ captures the unique atmosphere and upbeat rhythm of north-African street iconography with great warmth and humour. Being born in 1961 in Larache (Morocco) Hassan moved to London in 1975. He now works in between London and Marrakech. His kitschy images are guaranteed to bring a smile on your face. My favourites being the pictures of girls in veils and eccentric djellabah spiced up with heart-shaped sunglasses or fake Louis Vuitton slippers, portrayed more or less like gangsta rappers posing for street cred. These theatrical poses reflect the strength, style and street-smart attitude of the young women of Marrakesh.
Hajjaj’ work also includes designing and producing furniture, screen-printing and African studio photography.