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Aesthetica #98

December/January 2021 A New World

Here we are, at the end of one year and the start of a new one. We’ve all been through so much together, and yet, apart from one another. Technology has played a huge role this year as it becomes further integrated into our daily lives, mostly because we do not have a choice. Fear has also played a momentous role as we round up 10 months of a global pandemic and its ramifications. However, beyond this, there’s a huge amount of relief and joy to be found knowing Trump will be gone from the White House. It’s enough to end an incredibly tough year and tie it with a bow, starting 2021 with hope. Our new issue, the December / January edition reflects this sense of transition, titled A New World.

We speak with Hassan Hajjaj – known as “the Andy Warhol of Marrakech” – about identity politics. Blending the glossy aesthetic of fashion shoots with Moroccan tradition and street culture, his bold, detailed images challenge culture-specific beliefs, predominantly western perceptions of the Hijab and female disempowerment in Islam. These alluring, multi-layered compositions fuse contemporary North African culture with familiar western iconography.

In our image series, Alia Ali, Kate Theo, Eugenia Falqui, Markus Guschelbauer, Ismail Zaidy and Natasha Wilson question our relationships with both the natural and manmade world – and by extension – our perceptions of each other. 

We also take a glimpse at the 2020 NGV Triennial in Melbourne. Featuring more than 100 practitioners from more than 30 countries, this year’s presentation asks us to consider the world as we know it, but then think carefully about what we’d like it to be in terms of representation and inclusivity. This is a crucial moment of change and opportunity.