In Photos: Moroccan Motorcycle Mashup : The Picture Show Photographer Hassan Hajjaj's "Kesh Angels" share a similar name to Hell's Angels. But they're not a gang. They're Moroccan. And women. And really colorful.
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In Photos: Moroccan Motorcycle Mashup

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In Photos: Moroccan Motorcycle Mashup

In Photos: Moroccan Motorcycle Mashup

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The new photo exhibit "Kesh Angels" is on view in New York City.


Think of the images sort of like "Charlie's Angels" - women in glamorous clothes.

INSKEEP: Or like Hell's Angels, the biker gang.

MONTAGNE: Though the women in these photos are not exactly like anything you've seen. They are Moroccan women in Western clothing brands on motorcycles. Here's NPR's Leah Scarpelli.

LEAH SCARPELLI, BYLINE: Morocco has always been a place where outsiders come for inspiration or escape. From Rick and Ilsa in Casablanca to William Burroughs to Crosby, Stills and Nash.


SCARPELLI: So Moroccan English photographer Hassan Hajjaj wanted to show the view from the inside. He recalls working on a shoot in Marrakesh.

HASSAN HAJJAJ: All the models were either German, French or British. The photographer was, you know, from the West, the clothes, everything. And I was like, wow, they're just using, you know, all this trip as a backdrop. From then I said it would be great to present my people in their environment in their kind of way dressing and play with it in that kind of fashion way.

SCARPELLI: In his photo series, "Kesh Angels," young women pose in traditional Moroccan robes and veils made of eye-popping polka dot and camouflage fabrics. Some wear Luis Vuitton slippers or heart-shaped sunglasses. Many of them are friends of the photographer who work in Marrakesh's main square painting henna on tourists.

HAJJAJ: On their hands, arms or feet, and they all wear veils and they all wear it an exotic way to attract the tourists with the eyes and the see-through veil. And they're very sharp, very street, very wise.

SCARPELLI: And they pose with motorbikes. Hajjaj has been asked if these Kesh Angels are a real biker gang like the notorious Hell's Angels. He says definitely not.

HAJJAJ: Marrakesh is actually a bike city so you get everybody using them, from young kids, old women, old men. So I'm just highlighting something that's actually there.

SCARPELLI: Hajjaj is part of a growing art scene in Morocco. He splits his time now between London and Marrakesh.

HAJJAJ: I can feel the day differently from there to London 'cause you have the morning sunlight, the midday, the afternoon, the early evening, so you can feel the day. Where in London sometime, you know, if it's gray, it could be 10 o'clock or 3 o'clock in the afternoon. It's like one tone.

SCARPELLI: "Kesh Angels" is in New York through early March. It's one of two shows Hassan Hajjaj has in the U.S. right now. The other is in Los Angeles. Leah Scarpelli, NPR News.

INSKEEP: You can see photos that pay tribute to Marrakesh's biker culture at This is NPR News.

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