Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Art Crush: Hassan Hajjaj

There are times when I develop what I like to call “visual obsessions” with work from various artists. I don’t know what it is about certain artwork that just makes my eyes water from excitement, followed by temporary light-headedness and a brief shortage of breath. I get this urge to want to cover every inch of my room in the work that I just spent hours upon days looking at through a computer screen wishing there was a way to capture the images in their original essence and stash them where I can always view their true beauty. Is that just extraordinarily over-the-top and abnormal? Probably; welcome to my life. Anyway, my most recent visual obsession has been with artist Hassan Hajjaj. Hajjaj’s art is yet another beautiful product of a perfect cultural mash-up.  

Hassan Hajjaj is an African artist who moved from Morocco to London during his adolescent years. He first began to display his artistic talents through the world of interior design and fashion. This eventually led him to purchase his first camera and experiment on a new type of canvas without any formal education in the arts or photography.  Using his bi-cultural background, Hajjaj often creates art that depicts both African and European cultures. He produces images that display symbols of cultural traditions as well as stereotypical depictions of Islamic culture, the orient, and other non-western cultures. He then juxtaposes these images with symbols from pop-culture and Western trademarks such as Coca-Cola cans. Hajjaj uses the power of popular brands such as Coca-Cola as a way of bridging two cultures together with a highly recognizable product. A wide variety of viewers can relate to his artwork through these familiar images though the artwork speaks to the viewers in different ways. Through a mix of contrasting hues, clashing patterns, and slightly humorous cultural juxtapositions, Hajjaj has found a way to incorporate his experiences, background, and cultural-influences in an art form that questions the true meaning of “cultural identity” and “the other”.

 With infinite love,
The Frohemian

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