The Molem Collective gathers a collection of hip hop sneakers of the young Morocco-born Zakaria Haddou aka Zak from Molem. He was commissioned by the Croatian-Belgian artist Hana Miletić to portray his collection of 24 pairs of sneakers, bought during the last eighteen months. The succession of different sneakers can be regarded as a short historiography of the hip hop subculture.
The bold aesthetics, reflecting a rather objective approach, is very close to Miletić’s own artistic practice. Haddou is holding up every shoe against a slightly different background which consists of different walls of his bedroom; every close-up is shot from the same side angle.
A record of rap songs, selected by the youngster, reveals more about the remarkable collection and his owner. Here the rigour of the photographic series is played out against the personal tone of the project. Against the background of his favourite songs, Zak shares stories related to his collection that introduce the audience to some landmarks of the hip hop culture. But along the lines of dress codes and status symbols, a more personal story is told, related to the boy’s experience of ‘coming of age’.
The Molem Collective is released as a limited edition LP record (Art Paper Editions #026, 2013). The yellow record sleeve and the blue vinyl label refer to the flag colours of Sint-Jans-Molenbeek, better known as ‘Molem’ in slang, the multi-ethnic neighbourhood the young man inhabits.
The Molem Collective is part of a larger socio-artistic research project by Miletić, Molem (www.molem.be). This versatile project has an organic structure where meetings and experiences can lead to a further exploration of this contested Brussels area. Resulting in an interactive archive consisting of digital photographs and videos made by a multicultural group of young individuals from Brussels, Molem is a very generous project, on the part of the artist as well as of the participating youngsters. (Tanja Boon)
Hana Miletić (b.1982) is a Croatian-born photographer and video artist based in Brussels, Belgium. Her work documents, gathers and questions distinctive contemporary phenomena related to cultural identities, often located in the margins of European capitals. Miletić studied art history and archaeology at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and photography at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp. She currently researches and lectures in photography at LUCA School of Arts in Brussels.