Main Image: Hassan Hajjaj - Courtesy of Jenny Fremont
Guggenheim Abu Dhabi presents work by the Moroccan-British artist Hassan Hajjaj in a four-day public programme that includes Be Your Own Rock Star, a pop-up photography studio, and Gnawa Now with Masters Marouane Lbahja and Simo Lagnawi, a live performance of Gnawa music and dance. While primarily a photographer, Hajjaj also works in the worlds of film, fashion, furniture design (made from recycled Moroccan objects), installation, and musical performances. His nine-channel video My Rock Stars: Volume 2 (2017) and installation Le Salon (2017), both in the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi collection, demonstrate his interdisciplinary approach.
Be Your Own Rock Star
Guggenheim Abu Dhabi presents the work of Moroccan-British artist Hassan Hajjaj from 20 – 23 November 2019. For four days, the artist will set up an interactive photography studio in the Cultural Foundation courtyard and invite the public to pose in exuberant costumes and sets of his own design that fuse both Khaleeji and Moroccan aesthetics. Emirati cultural references from street food and traditional attire will transform participants to represent a socially diverse Abu Dhabi.
Online registration to participate in Hajjaj’s photography studio is available HERE. For any questions, please e-mail [email protected] directly.
Gnawa Now with Masters Marouane Lbahja and Simo Lagnawi
A concert of Gnawa music, an ancient African-Moroccan trance musical that brings together ritual poetry and traditional music and dance. Experience a rhythmic performance of intensifying music with the unique sounds of the krakebs (castanets) and gimbri (a three-stringed guitar). This live event will be led by Gnawa Masters Marouane Lbahja and Simo Lagnawi in collaboration with artist Hassan Hajjaj.
More information about the artist’s practice:
Entirely self-taught and a denizen of British hip-hop music and fashion subcultures, Hajjaj uses the camera to both document and embellish the culture and identity of societies in the midst of globalisation and diaspora. He stages portraits of people on the street in cities around the world, posing them as fashion models in brightly patterned costumes and sets designed by him. His designs reference the counterfeit brand name culture found in London street markets and the souqs of Marrakech. Mass-consumer Moroccan goods such as Legos with Arabic lettering, cans of Fanta, boxes of chicken stock, and other local products frame each portrait. He is particularly interested in photographing figures of African, Caribbean or Middle East descent that live far from their places of origin. His work celebrates dynamic social diversity while making an urgent call to empower difference.