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Also shown at Fotografiska Stockholm(2020) and Fotografiska New York (2021), ‘VOGUE, The Arab Issue’ is an immersive exhibition that brings together five of Hassan Hajjaj’s most important series developed over the past three decades. Vibrant portraiture set inside a world of bold colours, varied textures, and frenzied patterns command attention in this ongoing exhibition. Hassan’s photography challenges viewers through an eclectic confrontation of styles and invites you to re-examine cultural stereotypes and clichés.

© Hassan Hajjaj, Dior XL, 2012.
© Hassan Hajjaj, Dior XL, 2012.

Photographer, designer and filmmaker Hassan Hajjaj has strong ties to both Morocco and the UK. Born in the fishing town of Larache, Morocco in 1961, Hassan moved to London aged 12. Growing up immersed in London’s club culture as it was emerging and taking shape during his teen years heavily influenced Hassan’s practice and approach to creativity.

Reconnecting with his birthplace after a visit in the early 90s, Hassan saw the surroundings of his childhood through new eyes. Despite efforts to break down the class hierarchies and ambient racism of the time, stereotypes around Moroccan life still existed even amongst Hassan’s London peers, much to his dismay. A desire to subvert the conventional views of Morocco drove the artist to create works that reflect the country’s cultural mélange, encompassing both the ordinary and the vibrant.

Best known for his photography, Hassan’s practice focuses mainly on maximalist portraits of various characters from international musicians to unique personas which he casts in his photoshoots. Subjects are ornately framed and accessorised with colourful everyday items readily available from local markets. Hassan seizes control by disorganising expectations, merging Moroccan culture with his distinct hip-hop flair. The artist refers to the frequent comparisons of his work to that of Andy Warhol in his merchandise ‘Andy Wahloo’, a play on words that translates in Arabic to “I have nothing”.

Hassan’s selected solo shows include: VOGUE, The Arab Issue, Fotografiska, New York, USA (2021); Hassan Hajjaj: The Path, Arnolfini, London, UK (2020); VOGUE, The Arab Issue, Fotografiska, Stockholm, Sweden (2020); Carte Blanche à Hassan Hajjaj, Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris, France (2019); Hassan Hajjaj: The Path, New Art Exchange, Nottingham, UK (2019); La Salle de Gym des Femmes Arabes, Al Riwaq Art Space, Adliya, Bahrain (2017); La Caravane, Somerset House, London, UK (2017); La Salle de Gym des Femmes Arabes, The Third Line, Dubai, UAE (2016); Hassan Hajjaj, My Rock Stars Experimental, Vol.1, Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, USA (2015); My Rock Stars: Volume 1, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA, USA (2014, traveled from The Third Line, Dubai, and Virginia Commonwealth University, USA).

‘VOGUE, The Arab Issue’ is organised by Fotografiska in collaboration with Maison Européenne de la Photographie and the artist. The exhibition is open through to the 17th April 2022. For more information, please visit Fotografiska Tallinn.

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