The Importance of Being Hassan

Today, from our friends at REORIENT, we bring you an interview with Hassan Hajjaj (also known as the “Andy Warhol of Marrakech”). REORIENT editor Joobin Bekhrad talks with Hassan about his recent decoration by the King of Morocco, his participation in Made You Look: Dandyism and Black Masculinity at the Photographers’ Gallery, London, and pop art in the Middle East and North Africa. This article was originally published on October 17, 2016.

Hassan Hajjaj. Afrikan Boy, 2012.

Hassan Hajjaj. Afrikan Boy, 2012.

If you ever happen to be sauntering about Mister Hajjaj’s neighbourhood looking for a good time, do pay the man a visit—if he’s in, of course. (And if it isn’t pissing down like there’s no tomorrow. Don’t ask me why, but whenever I get out of the tube in Shoreditch, there’s hell to pay.) At Larache, the little shop of wonders named after his hometown in Morocco, there will be sights and sounds to delight your eyes and ears. You will sip on freshly brewed mint tea, recline on technicolour poufs, chat with someone you feel you’ve known for twenty-odd years, and tap your feet to hip-hop straight outta the ’Kesh, while passersby pop in and out shouting, “Ey, ’Assan!” Well, maybe I’m exaggerating, but that’s what comes to mind at the moment.

It’s been over a year since we caught up at Larache, and things have seemed to be getting better and better for the Moroccan boy wonder. Since then, he’s been decorated by the King of Morocco, released his first documentary film (written about for the first time by yours truly), and participated in a fabulous exhibition in London about black dandyism (Made You Look: Dandyism and Black Masculinity). Not bad, Hassan. Not bad at all.

Read the full article here.