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Omar Victor Diop

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The critically acclaimed Senegalese contemporary artist Omar Victor Diop’s 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.

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.

Three of Diop’s most important groups of works, “Allegoria”, “Diaspora” and “Liberty”, will be exhibited together for the first time and will be accompanied by previously unseen works from the “Windrush” series, which Autograph commissioned from the artist for the exhibition.


Diaspora (2014) draws inspiration from 16th 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 the world – yet often missing from conventional narratives. Largely based on historical paintings, which Diop imbues with contemporary football/soccer references, the series celebrates four centuries of notable Africans with extraordinary lives in the diaspora. In this portrait series Diop illuminates the tensions of ‘discovery, glory and recognition while facing the challenges of being framed as ‘other’ in mainstream discourse… Dip imagines how these paradoxes are shared between modern day footballers in Europe, and the sitters in the original paintings re-imagined in these playful yet sincere photographs.


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 Anti-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. Rich in detail and symbolism, the elaborately staged tableaux commemorate revolts by enslaved people, independence movements, social justice campaigns and the events that sparked them – a testament to the power – and long history of – of collective organising, anti-racist community campaigning and the enduring spirit of resistance.


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.

“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

The exhibition is a collaboration between London-based art centre Autograph and Paris-based gallery MAGNIN-A. The exhibition is the result of a collaboration between Fotografiska’s international exhibitions department and curator Renée Mussai.