Omar Victor Diop


Photo by Omar Victor Diop
© Omar Victor Diop Courtesy MAGNIN-A Gallery, Paris Diaspora 2015
Photo by Omar Victor Diop
© Omar Victor Diop Courtesy MAGNIN-A Gallery, Paris Diaspora 2014
Identity and discovery–on a collective and personal level–are the central themes of Omar Victor Diop’s project Diaspora. A journey through time, the photographic series delves into and exposes lesser-known narratives about the lives and roles of Africans out of Africa. With this body of work, Diop challenges us to rethink our own ideas about history and gives voice to his ongoing, internal discussion about who he is as an artist and as a person.

Starting his research during a residency in Malaga, Spain, where he was confronted with the reality of being a stranger, a foreigner, Diop has focused on Europe from the 15th century through to the 19th. He was inspired by examples of Renaissance and Baroque art created during this time. Using portraits of notable Africans in European history as his reference, Diop connects their life-journeys and legacies with his own, further reflecting upon the singular destinies of travelers and those who find themselves in foreign environments.

Choosing, for the first time, to use himself as the subject of his artwork, Diop delves into the realities of being both narrator and character, seeking to face his insecurities head on. Using further references to sports, football in particular, he shows the duality of living a life of glory and recognition, while facing the challenges of being “othered”. Such paradoxes, he finds, are shared between modern day footballers in Europe and the men from the original portraits which he represented in his self-portraits.

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