Netherlands-based hip-hop photographer Hajar Benjida was both excited and nervous heading into this year's Art Basel Miami Beach. After all, she's in town to promote her first exhibition, and the attention surrounding "Young Thug as Paintings" has been extraordinary.
"It's unreal," she says. "I can't believe I'm already here."
"Young Thug as Paintings" is a viral Instagram account Benjida created for a school project in 2016. Captivated by Young Thug's outrageous, boundary-pushing sense of style, she paired existing photos of the Atlanta rapper with fine art depicting subjects in similar poses.
"I had a lot of funny photos of Young Thug I would send to my friends as reaction faces,"
Her teacher liked the project, and
"I didn't expect it to blow up, but I was hoping to get picked up by a platform," she says. "It exploded."
"I just started out by making my way backstage after the show," she says. "I prefer going straight to the artist even though I don't know them... At
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As a fashion-forward person, she's impressed by Young Thug's ability to rock any outfit, especially after meeting him backstage at a music festival for an impromptu photo shoot. "I think he's opened the door for a lot of artists to be more open with how they dress," she says.
Young Thug himself helped put Benjida's exhibition together and flew to Miami to be a part of the festivities. What's more, his record label, Young Stoner Life, along with 300 Entertainment, is sponsoring "Young Thug as Paintings." The exhibition is on display through Sunday, December 9, at Scope Art Fair.
"Young Thug as Paintings." Through Sunday, December 9, at Scope Art Fair, Miami Beach Pavilion, 801 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach; scope-art.com.