Thursday, 5 October 2017


The fast-rising Senegalese photographer Omar Victor Diop is one of the featured artists in the “Festival Francophonie Mêtissée”, which runs until Oct. 19 in Paris.

One of the photos by Omar Victor Diop on show
at the Centre Wallonie-Bruxelles in Paris.
The annual event is hosted by the Centre Wallonie-Bruxelles (CWB), a Belgian cultural organization in the French capital that presents cutting-edge dance, cinema, literature, music and photography, mainly by Francophone artists.

Diop’s work comprises 10 photographs that are part of his early “Studio of Vanities” series.

They portray the “fresh faces of the continent's urban culture”, he says, adding that the objective was to showcase the African urban universe and its blossoming art production and exchanges.

Depicting singers, dancers, designers and others in the creative sector, the photos also reveal a new generation of young African talent, and present an “optimistic view of urban Africa, with a modern and pop aesthetic”, according to the CWB.

Photographer Omar Victor Diop. (Photo: SWAN)
At a talk to launch the exhibition, Diop said part of his motivation as an artist is to change how the African continent is represented.

“In most photographs of Africa, you never see a child with his mother, for instance – he’s always alone and barefooted,” he told the audience. “This lack of positive images, and lack even of truthful portrayal, gave me the desire to create my own images.”

Diop left a career in finance to devote himself to photography and has become particularly known for his 2014 “Project Diaspora” series – the staged portraits of himself in a range of ornate historical poses, which are based on actual paintings.

He produced these “metaphorical portraits” working “exclusively alone”, often writing out a kind of script before staging the photos, he said. The idea is not only to question the historical and contemporary representation of identity but to deconstruct stereotypes, he explained.

Diop's work being screened.
The “Diaspora” series has been shown internationally to wide acclaim, making Diop one of the most sought-after photographers of his generation. He has participated in shows in several African cities, as well as in Italy, Belgium and other European countries.

His work will also be on display during the Paris Photo photography fair, taking place Nov. 9 to 12.

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