art of resistance, Morocco, travel

Morocco’s Kesh Angels.

Hassan Hajjaj was born in Morocco and is London based artist. He’ s a master of several design genres, including furniture, fashion, interiors and record-album covers.

In the 1990s, he assisted on a magazine photo shoot in Marrakesh when he had a realization: All the models, the photographer and even the clothes were from another country. Morocco, the country he grew up in, was simply the backdrop.

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“From then I said it’d be great to present my people in their environment in their kind of way of dressing,” he said in an interview on NPR’s Morning Edition, “and play with it in that fashion way.”

He began photographing his friends — savvy, smart women who live and work in his neighborhood in Marrakesh — for his daring photo series “Kesh Angels.”  They are dressed in veils and traditional robes, called djellabahs, poised atop motorcycles and smiling behind stylish sunglasses.

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It’s hip hop on motorcycles. For Hajjaj, motorcycles are just another part of life in Marrakesh. Everyone uses them to get around, including the women. And then there’s Fanta and similar drinks people enjoy everywhere.

Hajjaj’s other work will be housed at the Marrakech Museum for Photography and Visual Art (MMPVA), opening in 2016. MMPVA will be the biggest photography museum in Africa, according to Hajjaj. He is one of 10 Moroccan photographers whose work was chosen for the MMPVA collection.

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