7 OCTOBER 2022— 12 MARCH 2023
Omar Victor Diop
The critically acclaimed Senegalese contemporary artist Omar Victor Diop is coming to Fotografiska this autumn. His striking photographs capture modern African sensibilities, and often focus on a recasting of history, the representation of diasporic experiences and global politics of black resistance.
Omar Victor Diop coming to Fotografiska
Combining photography with other art forms, Omar Victor Diop’s remarkable body of work includes fine art, fashion, design, and portrait photography. Using artistic self-portraiture as a key tool to engage with complex representational politics, community embodiment and ideas of self-fashioning, his practice is characterised by meticulously staged, dramatic imagery in which the artist himself appears as the main visual protagonist and interlocutor.
Self-portraiture has become a way for me to embody historical figures...
that are important and relevant to current social conversations. Having them all appear with the same face they become a part of the same human army marching towards progress, dignity, and humanity. For me it emphasises the fact that I could have been one of them. Through my work I pay homage to them.” - Omar Victor Diop.
Brought together for the first time
This exhibition presents – brought together for the first time – three distinct yet interconnected emblematic bodies of works completed between 2014–2021: Allegoria, Diaspora, and Liberty. Diaspora (2014) draws inspiration from 15th to 19th century Western portraits depicting a diverse constituency of black figures who have risen to prominence in courts, science, politics, and social movements in Europe – yet often missing from conventional narratives. Largely based on historical paintings, which Diop imbues with playful contemporary references, the series celebrates four centuries of notable Africans with extraordinary lives in the diaspora.
In Liberty (2017), subtitled A Universal Chronology of Black Protest, the artist reinterprets significant moments of historical revolt associated with the struggle for black freedom; from Apartheid movements in South Africa to civil right campaigns in America, the Caribbean and Europe to contemporary Black Lives Matter politics, exploring what unifies and defines these ongoing, global fights for equality and human rights.
Diop’s most recent project Allegoria (2021), imaginatively addresses the climate crisis and its impact on the Global South and the African continent especially. In these vibrant metaphorical, paradisiacal images, Diop is pictured amidst stunning imagery of carefully constructed flora and fauna. Here, openly borrowing from genres that include classical painting, religious iconography and West African photographic studio portraiture, as well as science textbooks and encyclopaedia, the artist considered the fate of humanity in the wake of natural disasters and environmental decline, asking how we may secure more viable, liveable futures together.
With a critical eye, Diop gazes back in time...
“We are proud and happy to present the colorful world of Omar Victor Diop, composed of historical reflections and future visions. With a critical eye, Diop gazes back in time and highlights those often despatched to the periphery of history. His latest series Allegoria calmly reflects over our shared contemporary world and raises questions on how we shape our future together,” says Johan Vikner, Director of Global Exhibitions at Fotografiska Stockholm.
The Omar Victor Diop exhibition is based on a 2018 exhibition by Autograph, originally presented in London (co-curated by Renée Mussai and Mark Sealy), this touring iteration for Fotografiska is curated by Renée Mussai and reflects the accompanying monograph Omar Victor Diop (5 Continents Editions, 2021). This exhibition is organised for Fotografiska by Johan Vikner in collaboration with Autograph, London and Gallery MAGNIN-A, Paris.