Kesh Angels

/ Hassan Hajjaj

rose issa projects, LONDON
27 may–26 june 2010

Tuesday to Saturday, 1pm-6pm, by appointment only

British-Moroccan artist Hassan Hajjaj captures the unique atmosphere and upbeat rhythm of north-African street iconography with great warmth and humour.

In this new solo show of photographs and installations, he pays tribute to the biker culture of the young women of Marrakesh – the ’Kesh Angels. Directing them in theatrical poses with their scooters, motorcycles and colourful outfits, he creates images that reflect their strength, style and street-smart attitude. In veils and djellabah, the ‘Kesh Angels respect a certain tradition, but their presence is defiantly modern. Hajjaj then juxtaposes these portraits with ephemera from the Medina in unique, handmade frames and bright, Pop-Art colours.

The highlight of the exhibition is an installation of Hajjaj’s customised motorbike, “881-Motobecane” : covered in fashion logos and kitscheries, it is the perfect symbol of the youth, independence, fun, sociability and sunshine of Morocco.

Hassan Hajjaj was born in 1961 in Larache, Morocco and moved to London in 1975. He now works in between London and Marrakech. He has established an international following for his photography, and was shortlisted for the Jameel Prize 2009 at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. He has had numerous solo and group shows in the UK and internationally, and also designs clothing, album covers (for Momo, Blur and Pino Daniele) ; hotels (Riad Yima, Marrakesh, 2006) ; bar-restaurants (Andy Wahloo, Paris 2003) ; and installations. His work is in the permanent collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.


Rose Issa Projects

Rose Issa is a curator, writer and producer who has championed visual art and film from the Arab world and Iran for nearly 30 years. She has lived in Iran, Lebanon, France and, for the last 20 years, London, where from her private project space in Kensington she showcases upcoming and established artists, and produces exhibitions and publications with public and private institutions worldwide.

Through curating numerous exhibitions and film festivals, she introduced for the first time to Western audiences many of the artists who have since become stars of the international scene, including : Chant Avedissian, Mohamed Ehsai, Shadi Ghadirian, Monir Farmanfarmaian, Bahman Ghobadi, Khosrow Hassanzadeh, Farhad Moshiri, Abbas Kiarostami, Rashid Koraichi and Nja Mahdaoui among many more.

Rose Issa has served as guest curator for numerous private and public institutions, including Tate Britain, London (2008) ; European Parliament (2008) ; the State Museum of Oriental Art, Moscow (2007) ; the Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg (2007) ; ING Bank, Geneva (2007) ; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (2006) ; the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW), Berlin (2004) ; The CCCB (Contemporary Cultural Centre), Barcelona (2003) ; IFA - Institut fur Auslandsbezeihungen (2002-3), Germany ; Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam (1996-1997) ; the Barbican Art Centre (2001, 1995) ; and The Leighton House Museum (ongoing, since 1992).

She also advises public and private art institutions on their loans and acquisitions
of contemporary artworks from the Middle East, including The British Museum ; the Imperial War Museum ; The Museum of Mankind ; the Victoria and Albert Museum ;
The National Museums of Scotland ; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art ; The Smithsonian Institution (Sackler/Freer Gallery and National Museum of African Arts) ; the World Bank, Washington DC ; and The National Gallery of Jordan. She was a Jury member for the National Pavillions at the 50th Venice Biennale (2003) and for the Mondriaan Foundation, Amsterdam (2006).

In addition she has collaborated with the Queensland Art Museum, Brisbane, Australia (2009) ; Paul Klee Museum, Bern (2009) ; and Belvedere Museum, Vienna (2009).
She is also the Director of Beyond Art Production Ltd, which publishes many of her exhibition catalogues.

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