If you thought that women from the Middle East and North Africa all wear drab black blankets over the head and stay home to cook dinner, these colorful photos by Moroccan-born artist Hassan Hajjaj might challenge that notion.
Based in London but heavily influenced by his roots and the reggae scene in his adopted country, Hassan Hajjaj created a series of images that show a side to Muslim women and North African culture that rarely makes mainstream news.
Kesh Angels, a collection that is currently on show at the Taymour Grahne Gallery in Tribeca, shows Marrakech “biker chicks” wearing bootleg Chanel and Louis Vuitton Abayas.
Contrary to the depressing images most commonly associated with (oppressed) Muslim women, these photos show women sporting polka dots, funky shoes, a lot of makeup, heart-shaped sunglasses, and all kinds of good-natured attitude.
Many of the women depicted in Kesh Angels are friends of Hajjaj, a master photographer who frequently designs the clothing that his models wear in shoots.
Hajjaj is a versatile artist whose repertoire includes portraiture, installation, interior designed (including recycled furniture made from recycled Coca-Cola crates and aluminum cans), but this is the first time that he has had a solo show in New York.
Founded by the same art collector behind the blog Art of the Middle East, which celebrates the unique creative talent bursting from the MENA region, the Taymour Grahne Gallery will showcase this fantastic series through 8 March, 2014.