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Omar Victor Diop's 'Project Diaspora,' A Visual Pilgrimage Through Art History

'Project Diaspora,' the new series from Senegalese photographer Omar Victor Diop, is a visual pilgrimage through art history.

Images provided by Omar Victor Diop


New work from Omar Victor Diop, the Senegalese photographer behind the striking [re-]Mixing Hollywood (Onomollywood), Le Futur du Beau and Le Studio des Vanités projects, is always a cause for excitement. The artist returns this month with a photo series to debut at the 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair, which opens today in London. In a twelve-image set titled Project Diaspora, Diop showcases his penchant for vibrant colors and highly stylized portraits while again delving into the conversation about representation of Africans on the world stage.

This new body of work presents a slight departure from the artist's earlier fashion and fine art portrait photography, as for the first time, Diop himself is featured as the sole subject. According to Diop, Project Diaspora seeks to explore two major themes of identity and discovery and was conceived during a four month residency in Malaga, Spain, where he was confronted with the reality of his "otherness." For each self-portrait, Diop mimics original paintings of notable African men in European history while using football equipment as props. Diop explains a shared paradox between footballers and the original men in his portraits in an artist's statement which mentions that he chose to reference football "to show the duality of living a life of glory and recognition," while facing the challenges of being "other.”

With this project, which he told Okayafrica is a "sort of visual pilgrimage through Art history," Diop seeks to explore his own development as an artist and rectify the misconceptions of an all-white Europe by highlighting a historically accurate African presence. This first installment of the series focuses specifically on Africans in European history from the 15th through the 19th century, however Diop plans to expand the project to include the Middle East, Asia, and the Americas.

Omar Victor Diop's Project Diaspora is on display at the 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair at London's Somerset House from October 16-19, before opening at Paris Photo (November 13-16).

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Falz’s ‘Squander’ Remix Will Get You Dancing In No Time

The single features Niniola and South African amapiano acts Kamo Mphela, Mpura and SayFar.

Nigerian award-winning rapper, songwriter, and actor Falz makes his debut into the South African music scene with a remix of his hit single "Squander" featuring South Africa's Kamo Mphela, Mpura, and SayFar alongside the Nigerian Afro-House queen Niniola, who was on the original.

Produced by Young Willis and SayFar, the single has an infectious energy that will get you dancing in no time. We didn't expect anything less from breakout vocalist Mpura whose single "Umsebenzi Wethu" is currently topping multiple streaming charts. Amapiano singer and choreographer Kamo Mphela, known for her striking dance moves and collaborations with prominent artists like Busiswa & DJ Maphorisa, also continues to solidify her name in the industry with this feature.

Falz's ability to create music that reflects on the realities of many Nigerians has made him one of Nigeria's boldest voices. This is, however, one of the first times we see him pique interest in collaborating with South African artists. "I love South Africa, I love the culture and the food. I am really excited about this remix with Kamo Mphela, Mpura & SayFar because it's a great blend of South African & Nigerian music."

While he is not in the studio producing hits, Falz is a judge in the third season of The Voice Nigeria. The other judges include Nigerian singer and vocalist Waje, Afropop singer Yemi Alade, and the creative director of Livesport360, Dare Art Alade.

"Squander" remix is now available on all streaming platforms.

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