Photographer Hassan Hajjaj, aka the Andy Warhol of Marrakech, may be used to putting people in front of his lens, but the tables have turned now, thanks to a certain graffiti artist. The British-Ghanaian muralist Neequaye Dreph Dsane, who goes by Dreph, recently finished his latest work, which features a close-up, blown-up view of Hajjaj’s face. His likeness can be seen staring off into the distance, immortalized on a nearly three-meter-high and over six-meter-wide wall in East London.
Part of Dreph’s portrait series, this new graffiti is meant to paint a picture of the issue of immigration after Brexit. "With Brexit and seeing the effects of gentrification that's happening across the city, I've been inspired to tell the human stories of the people who are the soul of some of the communities that make London such a culturally rich, cosmopolitan city,” he tells AFP. He also added that he chose his friend Hajjaj because of the photographer's success in fusing his native Marrakech with things that are popular in the West. While post-Brexit gentrification and nationalism have becoming more of a somber topic lately, Dreph painted using his signature bright and bold colors to symbolize pride and optimism.
Dreph rose to fame after his “You are Enough” project, which comprise 10 murals of everyday black women, unexpectedly went viral. Unlike many of his peers, his works are done with permission, which is often obtained directly.
To learn more about Hassan Hajjaj, revisit our feature on him here.