Sole DXB, taking place in the Dubai Design District, defines itself as the regional platform for footwear, fashion, culture, art and design. They have collaborated with the internationally acclaimed Hajjaj to embody the ethos of art, music, fashion and urban culture after taking to London to work with him on a shoot that entwined the spirit of music, fashion and the visual arts.
When Hassan selected Bendriouich as the face of his campaign, he also made it a point to celebrate the young designer who is based between Casablanca and Berlin. This isn’t the first time the two have collaborated, and as both have become associated with the aesthetics of street style, androgyny and experimental urban culture; their marriage in the arts has proven to misalign themselves from any definition of mainstream trends.
So what’s so important about the dynamic duo, and how can their collective art inspire the inhabitants of the region, whether they be creatives, philosophers, thinkers, or average Jassems and Jumanas? This collaboration reaps symbolism of hegemony and honest modern day ideals that are so wonderfully flamboyant; any critical thinker wouldn’t be able to resist delving into analytical dissections. The aesthetic is also kitschy and fun, boasting a celebration of tradition mixed with modern multicultural influences we have all come across or picked up on at some point. Hassan has once again found our voices, and through is art, he is willing to speak on our behalf.
What message are you trying to portray by choosing Bendriouich as your subject?
I would like for this image to portray the past, present and future. I also want to display our culture’s general coolness mixed with savvy style and tradition that the region is not always perceived for. I think that it’s vital to show this while introducing amazing international talent such as Mr. Bendriouich to the world.
Upon first encountering your work, many people would compare you to a Middle Eastern Warhol. Was he one of your influences?
Andy Warhol wasn’t intended to be my influence – I’m my own influence. However, I hear this all the time from the press and public and take it as a compliment!
Do you feel that your work would be successful in portraying a different message to audiences in the West rather than the East?
I always hope that my work can be read in a positive way to Western audiences, and I also want to pave the way for other Arab artists to express themselves. If they have something to say, they should be heard.
Noticing that you’ve collaborated with Amine Bendriouich in the past, how do you feel that his work mirrors yours, and what does your compatibility create?
Amine and I share similar interests in terms of art, music, film and culture. Somehow, we always find ourselves collaborating – it happens naturally! We definitely mirror one another in so many ways. I consider him my “brother from another mother”.
Would you say that you and Amine Bendriouich are the voices of Morocco meets Western art?
If we could grant ourselves this title, that would be amazing. It is definitely an objective of our work. However, I’m also doing the work I believe in for my own self. That being said, we are aware that we’re the artistic voices of Morocco and wear this badge with pride.
How was it collaborating with Amine for the Sole DXB campaign?
It was amazing! It truly felt like a family affair.
Do you feel that your collaboration with Sole DXB will encourage lesser-known artists to emerge within the Middle East and put themselves out there the way you have?
I really hope is so. It’s vital! Creatives throughout the region should be encouraged to express themselves.
What’s next for Hassan Hajjaj?
I’m currently working on my two solo shows for next year: the first will be taking place at The Third Line in Dubai, (March 2016) and the second will be a solo show with Taymour Grahne in New York (May 2016).
Check out Hassan and Amine’s collaboration at the Sole DXB fair in the Dubai Design District from November 20-21st, 2015.