Past Exhibition / Hassan Hajjaj
Noss Noss: Photographic Works and Other Moroccan Stories
November 22 - December 13, 2007
“Noss Noss” means “so so” in Arabic, but in Morocco it is used to order a coffee with milk (half and half). The use of this common phrase heard at Marrakech cafes is typical of Hajjaj’s world where urban street culture and the everyday coexist. From young people in Marrakech on the back of motorcycles to men in fez’s smoking cigarettes, Hajjaj’s work portrays young locals posing on the streets of Morocco and simultaneously captures Western stereotypes of the people of North Africa.
Here Hajjaj takes European stereotypes of the North African world and turns them into a visual celebration in what he calls 'souk with a twist'. His photographs are then finished with a unique kind of Moroccan product placement: recycled bike tyres, tins of food or used batteries sourced from the markets of Morocco are then placed around the image, framing the work in the unique Hassan Hajjaj style. Each relief style frame is individually made by the artist, each referencing the co-existence of the new and the old.
By recycling, re-appropriating and re-empowering Western stereotypes of North Africa, Hajjaj has come up with a powerful and celebratory aesthetic that is very much like a visual hip-hop: he does not combine Africa and the West, rather, he speaks the voice of a generation that can no longer tell the difference.