Omar Ibn Saïd

  • 2015
  • Omar Victor Diop
  • Pigment inkjet print on Harman By Hahnemuhle paper
  • 60 x 40 cm

Performing in costume, Diop embodies all of them in a sweeping history of portraiture – from Mughal miniatures to European court painters. One by one, he depicts Malik Amabar (1549-1626), an Ethiopian slave who became a minister and war chief in the village of Ahmednagar in India; Albert Badin (1747-1822), majordomo to the queen of Sweden Louise Ulrique of Russia; and Dom Nicolau (1830-1860), prince of Kongo and the first African leader to object to colonial rule in writing. These figures of a little-known history undergo contemporary recontextualisation by way of incongruous details borrowed from soccer: a red card, a ball, goalie gloves, a whistle. “Soccer is an interesting global phenomenon that for me often reveals where society is in terms of race. When you look at the way that African soccer royalty is perceived in Europe, there is a very interesting blend of glory, hero-worship and exclusion. Every so often, you get racist chants or banana skins thrown on the pitch and the whole illusion of integration is shattered in the most brutal way. It’s that kind of paradox I am investigating in the work.”

© Omar Victor Diop. Photo © Fondation Louis Vuitton / Marc Domage


Omar Victor Diop

Omar Victor Diop began taking photographs in 2012. This self-taught artist continues in the tradition of African studio photography (Keïta), often adopting and applying the genre’s codes to self-portraits. Diop produces work in series.

In Re-mixing Hollywood (2013), he replays scenes from famous films in Dakar, using photography. For Alt+shift+ego (2014), he combines African costumes and motifs with fashion photography. In Diaspora (2015), he addresses those Africans who, from the 16th to 19th centuries, played important roles beyond their home continent.

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