In the Project Diaspora series of self-portraits, Omar Victor Diop, dressed in European fashion styles of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, impersonates travellers and migrants of African origin.
During a research period in Spain, Diop came across many portrayals of African personalities amid the works of famous painters and graphic artists, revealing an early interest in African people. European artists portrayed them with dignity and elegance, indicating how the portrayed were distinguished representatives of the early diaspora. Inspired by these representations, Diop transposed them, in his self-portraits, to contemporary migration success stories. Asking himself who are the contemporary successful African stars in Europe, he focused on famous soccer players. The Project Diaspora pictures portray Diop in elegant ensembles posing as a proud nobleman, without displaying the insignia of businessmen or scholars, but instead wearing soccer shoes, holding a red card or a soccer ball. He thus ironically reflects on the western perspective that reduces most of the Africans who have become wealthy and famous outside their home country to the role of sportsmen. Simultaneously, Diop draws the viewer’s attention to the fate of these individuals in a foreign country, bound to and unable to escape an exotic image.