Guggenheim Abu Dhabi presents: Hassan Hajjaj: From the Streets of Marrakech to the Heart of Abu Dhabi

Organised by Cultural Foundation

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.

date and time

Wed, Nov 20, 2019 - Sat, Nov 23, 2019

event location

Cultural Foundation, Abu Dhabi

contact info

Cultural Foundation
Tel: +971 2 657 6348

Nearby

Schedule

Date Time Location Notes
Nov 20 - Nov 23, 2019 10:00 AM 05:00 PM Cultural Foundation, Abu Dhabi Be Your Own Rock Star
Nov 23, 2019 08:30 PM 10:30 PM Cultural Foundation, Abu Dhabi Gnawa Now with Masters Marouane Lbahja and Simo Lagnawi

tickets

Gnawa Now

Gnawa Now with Masters Marouane Lbahja and Simo Lagnawi

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Be Your Own Rockstar

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Biography

Hassan Hajjaj
b. 1961, Larache, Morocco
Lives and works in London and Marrakech

Hassan Hajjaj was born in Larache, Morocco in 1961. Entirely self-taught, Hajjaj worked as a promoter in the underground London music scene, a fashion stylist, an assistant for music video productions, and a furniture designer before discovering photography in the late 1980s. Hajjaj made portraits of his friends who worked in various creative industries, dressing them in his own exuberant fashion designs and mixing in everyday kitsch and traditional objects from North Africa.

Hajjaj has drawn from the history of modern African photography, in particular West African mid-twentieth century portraitists like Cameroonian photographer Samuel Fasso and Malian photographer Seydou Keïta. Both Fasso and Keïta staged their portraits in studio settings and used black and white photography to capture a wide range of subjects. His portraits’ signature aesthetic fuses and reworks such classical portraiture with street photography and fashion magazine editorials with an irreverent remix of African and Western elements, including global fashion logos referencing counterfeit goods found in London and Moroccan street markets.

Biographies of Musicians
Belonging to a new generation of Moroccan musicians, Marouane Lbahja is one of the leading Gnawa Masters. Entranced by its hypnotic rhythms since childhood, Lbahja has played and accompanied other great Maâlems, or Masters of Gnawa, across Morocco.

Marouane met Hajjaj in 1998, when planning the stage design for his set at the Gnawa Festival in Essaouria. Since then, both have collaborated in staging Gnawa performances, as well as on a photography project aimed at capturing the essence of Maâlems.

Simo Lagnawi is considered the UK’s premier Guembri player and Gnawa Master. He first arrived in the UK in 2008 from Rabat, Morocco. Lagnawi plays both traditional and Gnawan fusion styles, making it his mission to expose and disperse Gnawa music in the UK and throughout the world. He collaborates with a range of African and local musicians to combine different musical traditions and create a new branch of Gnawa trance music. His energetic performances bring together musicians and artists from different backgrounds and musical cultures.

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