Came across this post on Tumblr of an art installation called ‘Project Diaspora’ with 12 photos by and starring Omar Victor Diop, a Senegalese photographer. The photos were inspired by Diop’s sense of isolation during an artist residency in Europe as well a collection of portraits Image of the Black In Western Art.
He recently did an interview with the New York Times where he goes on to explain that his work stems from recreating those pieces of art from 15th to 19th century Europe. Diop notes that these portraits were of ‘outstanding individuals who lived in Europe’, showing the linkage between Africa and Europe within the art world.
Within each picture, Diop takes the place of the person in the original painting or engraving. “I enjoy the idea that, contrary to the conventional self-portrait, I am just an accessory, My goal is to bear witness to the contribution of Africans to universal civilization.”
He calls the installation ‘visual sampling’, includes his addition of a soccer theme throughout. Diop says he added this element to ‘connect past and present in a timeless depiction where brands have been eliminated.’ Here he attempts to make a linkage between those historical figures and the increasing racism African soccer players experience playing throughout Europe.