It’s very theatrical, but look deeper and Senegalese artist Omar Victor Diop‘s photographs explore the struggles and achievements of black people over the past four centuries and the complexities, challenges and contradictions that still exist in the 21st century, with a combination of historical images which have quirky links to the modern game of football, a game which unfortunately still suffers from bias, whether it be related to colour, gender or sexuality.
Images of historic struggles include the Sonacotra Tenant Strike from the 1970’s and the Women’s War of 1929, while the theatre comes from many of the images which are of Diop himself in different historical or artistic settings, which initially is a little surreal but gradually grows on you, combining figures from the 17th century onwards, many of whom rose to premier political positions in their different countries, often after political or military exploits that proved their loyalty and political talents along with well-known artworks which have been manipulated:
‘Football is an interesting global phenomenon that for me often reveals where society is in terms of race. When you look at the way that the African football royalty is perceived in Europe, there is an interesting blend of glory, hero-worship and exclusion. Every so often, you get racist chants or banana skins thrown on the pitch and the whole illusion of integration is shattered in the most brutal way. It’s that kind of paradox I am investigating in the work’ (Omar Victor Diop).
What we really need is a team from Africa to win the FIFA World Cup and upset the world order…..