The Path by Hassan Hajjaj presents a unique and timely consideration of culture and identity in the modern, globalised world. Born in Morocco, Hajjaj moved to Britain aged 12. He works today between both countries.
Hajjaj’s artworks are characterised by an explosion of colour, pattern, appropriated brand logos and found objects. Signs, symbols and people from around the globe collide without hierarchy or the presumed superiority of a Eurocentric worldview.
His subjects hail from a diverse range of cultural backgrounds creating, in composite, a portrait of Britain at its most dynamically diverse. At a time when Britain risks turning inwards in pursuit of a national identity based on an idealised past, Hajjaj’s portraits make an urgent, timely case in favour of hybridity and multiculturalism.
Inspired by Hajjaj’s approach to celebrating inspiring people, New Art Exchange commissioned a Nottingham-centric portrait, inviting the public to nominate extra-special individuals from our city. The winner, selected by a young people’s panel, was photographed by Hajjaj and features in the Main Gallery, and other nominees are on show in the Central Gallery space as part of our Everyday Superstars exhibition.
Celebrating and encouraging creativity sits at the heart of Hajjaj’s practice. As such, he has transformed NAE’s Mezzanine Gallery space into Le Salon – an immersive site-specific art installation that platforms local talent as well as a space for reading, relaxing and researching. Le Salon showcases a new photography collection by Hajjaj that focusses on landscape, place and sensibility, rather than portraiture.
The exhibition is free to visit and is showing until the 23 June at the New Art Exchange.