The ground floor of Hassan Hajjaj’s courtyard home showcases his work, including shoes, furniture, and his portraits of Marrakech residents. His staff always welcomes visitors with a cup of mint tea.
This appeared in the August/September 2014 issue.
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A Touch of Kitsch in the Marrakech Medina
Morocco is riddled with riads, palaces, and restaurants set to fulfill your most ostentatious Arabian Nights fantasy — but all the arches and lanterns and carpets do get old after awhile. If ever you wanted to see what Moroccan kitsch looks like, head straight to Riad Yima, a pop-art gallery and boutique owned by celebrated Morocco and UK based photographer Hassan Hajjaj. You'll find his edgy portraits along side a carefully curated range of funky shirts, caftans, and babouches (unlike any you'll find in the medina, I promise you), and yes, those are lanterns in the picture — only these are fashioned out of household paint and sardine cans. Hajjaj takes all your preconceived notions of Moroccan design and turns them on their head. You can have a coffee at the cute little tables fashioned from Arabic stop signs and soak it all in. You've never seen Morocco look quite like this before.
Living in Marrakesh for a couple of years I heard about this place hidden in medina close to my place but... I was unable to find it!
One day, having coffee and reading book I hear someone talking about the photographer owner of the place! I ask people about, it was his business partner... lucky me.
From there I go for coffee, tea, fresh juices almost everyday if my job give me enough time to!
There you'll travel around Hassan Hajjaj's world which is for me like a new continent I discover. Part of Africa with colors, musics, simple ideas, Part of european sense of humor, Part of the world but with a new eye to catch it!
I moved a lot around the world, but this place keep a real different feeling for me...
Once you spend time there you feel like able to approach Morocco with an other eye!
Just go there and let me know!