Hajjaj is an originally Moroccan artist, born in Larache, Morocco in 1961, and moved to London in 1975.
Before becoming a full time artist, Hajjaj worked as gardener, club promotor, record salesman, and clothing store owner.
In 1984 Hajjaj launched his own clothes and accessories label “RAP.” Of his different and special approach to fashion, he says:
When I’m in Morocco, I’ll wear a djellaba, but when I come back to London I wear Western clothes. When you see the different costumes side by side, you can really see the cultural differences.
He believes that through clothes people try to preserve heritage from where they came, especially when living in a different culture from the one they originally belong to. Also, Hajjaj recognizes clothing as a symbol of where different cultures meet–his photography involves elements from Moroccan customs along with modern/western brand names as Nike, Louis Vuitton, and many others.
Besides photography which he started practicing around 1990, the artist has made impressive forays into interior and furniture design. Among his many inspirations are reggae and hip-hop music, scenes from everyday life in Marrakech, and North African brand packages such as olive oil cans, coca cola crates from Morrocan souks.
Not only inspired by the aforementioned influences, Hassan Hajjaj who is known as the “Andy Warhol of Marrakech,” reflects the influence of pop art on his body of work. Hajjaj’s most famous work, the “Andy Wahloo” bar-restaurant in Paris, defined later on much of his work and style. The term which refers Parisian slang meaning ” I have nothing”, is a definition the artist adapted as a way to describe his works.
Hajjaj starts from a blank canvas of sorts when it comes to his own unstable identity, and it is from this space of “nothing” or “Wahloo” that the freedom to use bright colors and clashing cultures results in his work.
The “artist-designer” as he calls himself will have his work “Les Mains” (see above) featured in JAMM’s upcoming text and calligraphy exhibit at CAP. He most recently visited Kuwait as a guest at REUSE 2.0. We look forward to sharing his work with the public starting November 20!