Arts + Culture

Hassan Hajjaj's Moroccan Biker Barbie Dolls

Moroccan artist Hassan Hajjaj reinterprets his previous 'Kesh Angels' with photographs featuring biker barbie dolls for a twist.

We've previously featured Hassan Hajjaj for his Kesh Angels project and collaboration with Amine Bendriouich, which play off contrasts between the multiple cultures the Moroccan-born/London-based artist is surrounded by. Hajjaj's recent work follows up on his Kesh Angels series, a tribute to the biker culture of young women in Morocco peppered with elements of Western consumerism. This time around, the pictures feature Barbie dolls wearing traditional outfits and high-end labels like Louis Vuitton. The underlining message in question is clear: what's the impact of Western culture in Africa with the thousands of mainstream Western brands settling and promoting their products across the continent? What's the effect when international labels don't give any interest to national culture and won't even bother to adapt their commercials to the country they're targeting? What happens when the youth lose interest in their national and traditional culture, opting instead for these global brands? We'd love to hear your opinion. If you want to talk about it, tweet @okayafrica with #hassanhajjaj.


[H/T One Nigerian Boy]

Photo by Meztli Yoalli Rodríguez

Dying Lagoons Reveal Mexico’s Environmental Racism

In the heart of a traditionally Black and Indigenous use area in Southwest Mexico, decades of environmental destruction now threatens the existence of these communities.

On an early morning in September 2017, in a little fishing village in the Pacific coast of Oaxaca, called Zapotalito, thousands of dead fish floated on the surface of the Chacahua-Pastoría lagoons. A 7.1-magnitude earthquake, which rattled Mexico City on September 19, was felt as far down as Zapotalito, and the very next morning, its Black, Indigenous and poor Mestizo residents, who depend on the area's handful of lagoons for food and commerce, woke up to an awful smell and that terrible scene of floating fish.

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