Hassan Hajjaj platforms emerging Moroccan artists in debut collaboration with Avant Arte

In a debut collaboration with Moroccan photographer Hassan Hajjaj, Avant Arte presents Yazid & Rania (2018/1439), a limited photographic print edition of 50 with a handmade frame also designed by the artist, launching on Friday 10 September 2021.

Part of the Hajjaj’s seminal My Rockstars series, the portrait features two young Moroccan creatives who the artist has mentored, Yazid Bezaz and Rania Malek. Captured in the same striking style as the global roster of celebrities who have previously featured in the series, Yazid & Rania (2018/1439) places these upcoming creatives on the same pedestal as household names, drawing parallels between his own journey as an artist and those starting their own. 

Hassan Hajjaj
Photography by Lisa Whiting

When I was creating this edition with Avant Arte, I wanted to tell my story: about my Moroccan heritage and my body of work. But I also wanted to talk about the next generation: these young creatives coming up in the world

Hassan Hajjaj

“I really connect with Hassan’s work because he, in a similar way to Avant Arte, consciously collaborates with creatives at various stages of their careers,” says Avant Arte co-founder Christian Luiten. “Yes, he’s shooting the cover of Vogue and being written about in the New Yorker, but his practice allows enough space to elevate the community of creatives who have grown up loving his work.”

YAZID & RANIA (2018/1439)

“When I was creating this edition with Avant Arte, I wanted to tell my story: about my Moroccan heritage and my body of work. But I also wanted to talk about the next generation: these young creatives coming up in the world,” says artist Hassan Hajjaj. “As it turns out, it’s not just young people who are learning from me, I learn so much from them: they are the future.”

I picked this image of Yazid and Rania to represent this generation of Moroccans who inspire me. I’ve known Yazid’s family since before he was born and have watched him grow into this amazing young man who’s doing great stuff; I met Rania about six years ago when she was this very talented kid, and have seen her evolve as an artist in her own right. To me, they’re the perfect representation of the future. Yazid & Rania (2018/1439)  is an extension of My Rockstars, but also sets the tone for work that I haven’t shown yet. I’m excited to share it with the Avant Arte community.”

YAZID & RANIA (2018/1439)

Featured in the portrait is Yazid Bezaz (right), founder of Somnii Productions, a collective that develops emerging artists – from photographers to musicians – often collaborating with global brands, like Poppy Lissiman, to create authentic content that connects with consumer peers. Further, Bezaz has assisted on many shoots with Hajjaj, often suggesting hip hop artists he might photograph, “To be captured and practically immortalised by Hassan is a huge pleasure,” says Bezaz. “He creates an amazing feeling with an aura that he breathes. He has so much energy on shoots, it’s all so alive. We’re there, having fun: Hassan always tries to capture you.”

Behind the scenes: Alo Wala
Photography by Jenny Fremont

Also featured in the portrait is Rania Malek (left), a multi-disciplined creative working in design and music who was introduced to Hajjaj by Bezaz at an exhibition opening in Casablanca. “Becoming involved in the project was super natural, super spontaneous,” Malek describes shooting the edition. “We were having a normal day: Yazid, Hassan and I went for lunch and then back to the Riad where he had all these cool clothes we started trying on. Hassan took that moment and it naturally turned into a shoot. It just felt right. It was my first time working with Hassan.” Since, Malek has regularly worked with Hajjaj, assisting on shoots and counts him as an adviser in her own practice. 

“We’re a new generation of artists, who are lucky enough to have Hassan supporting us,” says Yazid Bezaz. 

Yazid & Rania (2018/1439) is available on Friday 10th September. All prints are mounted in a hand-made white frame, mounted on Dibond and surrounded by a polka-dot tablecloth border designed by the artist. A label signed by the artist is affixed to the reverse. Only 50 works are available. Given demand for the piece, collectors can pre-register their interest by signing up on the Avant Arte website

©2021 Hassan Hajjaj, Lisa Whiting, Jenny Fremont