Hajar Benjida

Winning bodies of work

Hajar Benjida (b. 1995) is a Moroccan-Dutch photographer and visual artist from The Netherlands. She graduated from HKU University of the Arts Utrecht in 2019 with a BA in photography. In her personal work, Benjida has a documentary and intimate approach, from photographing some of today’s biggest names in hip-hop to capturing the strip club scene in Atlanta and its impact on the music industry and narratives around women and the agency of their bodies. Benjida’s debut exhibition was held at Art Basel at Scope Art Fair Miami 2018 with her project Young Thug as Paintings, made in collaboration with Young Thug himself. She was the recipient of LensCulture’s 2019 Emerging Talent Award and her latest project Atlanta Made Us Famous was selected by Unseen as one of nine outstanding graduation projects of 2019, and is currently part of Foam Talent 2021. 

Atlanta Made Us Famous is an ongoing project that highlights the women that play an important role in the Atlanta hip-hop scene. During her first visit to Atlanta in 2018, Benjida interned at a photography studio right across the street from legendary strip club Magic City, which has been a crucial launch pad for numerous rappers’ careers. Realising that the female dancers in the club played a vital part in this scene, Benjida felt a desire to document their lives and experiences. She befriended several of them and, over the course of a few weeks, she attempted to understand some of the issues that are central to their existence, such as work, motherhood, ownership over their images, and having agency stripped from the narratives around their bodies. Through creating this series, Benjida hopes to show that their images “hold power and importance beyond hip-hop and its surrounding culture”.

Atlanta Made Us Famous