Photos

Hassan Hajjaj Photographs Moroccan Biker Women In 'Kesh Angels'

Hassan Hajjaj photographs Moroccan biker women in his debut New York exhibition 'Kesh Angels' on display at the Taymour Grahne Gallery through March 8th.

The stunning photos featured above of colourfully veiled women on motorbikes are part of Kesh Angels, the debut New York exhibition from the Moroccan-born/UK-based consistently phenomenal Hassan Hajjaj. The self-taught photographer, whose aesthetic is the striking result of a North African heritage combined with an education rooted in the worlds of London hip-hop, reggae, and club scenes, has over the years developed his own brand of visually stunning Morocco-centric pop art. In his latest series, Hajjaj continues to offer an alternate perspective on femininity in Morocco, one that embraces vibrant colours along with individuality and attitude. Kesh Angels, a tribute to the biker culture of young women in Morocco, nods to the African studio photography tradition established by Malian legends Seydou Keita and Malick Sidibé. Hajjaj, who uses found objects such as Pepsi cans as material, frames his photos with elements of consumerist culture. The Kesh Angels exhibit, accompanied by a book on the last decade of Hajjaj’s work, is now on display at New York's Taymour Grahne Gallery through March 8th. Hajjaj's three-channel video installation, My Rock Stars, Volume I (2012), is currently on view at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art through July 20th.

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Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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