LA FOTOGRAFÍA DE OMAR VICTOR DIOP

Senegal cuenta con la mirada de este artista para retratar su esencia

La cámara del fotógrafo senegalés Omar Victor Diop dispara a universos que él mismo construye en su estudio en Dakar, donde a partir de un fondo en blanco surgen instantáneas llenas de historias y homenajes que invitan a la reflexión sobre cuestiones tan actuales como la crisis climática o el racismo.

El resultado son unas fotografías donde cada elemento se encuentra en el lugar preciso, en la más absoluta sintonía, a pesar de que para Diop la composición y los colores sean “la parte más espontánea” de sus creaciones.

Este artista de 40 años, que ha expuesto en España, Brasil, Estados Unidos, Japón o Francia, entre otros países, admite que durante mucho tiempo consideró su responsabilidad, por el hecho de ser africano, “cambiar la mirada de los otros” hacia las personas negras.

“(Ahora) rechazo pasarme toda mi carrera intentando convencer a la gente de abrir los ojos”, asegura Diop en una entrevista en su estudio en la capital senegalesa.

Los movimientos de protesta africanos y de la diáspora, así como aquellas personas negras que hicieron historia y que tan pocos recuerdan, son algunos de los temas abordados en sus autorretratos, que exploran la “noción de continuidad” tan extendida en África.

“Somos un episodio de un linaje de personajes y antepasados que continuará con nuestros nietos”, medita, por lo que esos a quienes recrea en sus retratos y lo que les ha sucedido también “somos nosotros”.

EL ÁFRICA DE TODOS LOS DÍAS

Procedente del mundo de las finanzas, se inició en la fotografía profesional en 2011 tras exponer en la Bienal de Fotografía Africana que se celebra en Bamako (Malí) con una serie fotográfica sobre los desechos.

Diop quiere mostrar el “África de todos los días”, esa África moderna y urbana de la que no se habla lo suficiente, pero que está ahí, cumpliendo sus sueños, como muestra el fotógrafo en la serie “The Studio of Vanities” (“El estudio de vanidades”, desde 2012), y que da nombre a su estudio.

En ella, aparecen retratadas grandes personalidades del mundo cultural africano como la diseñadora senegalesa Adama Paris, la cineasta y periodista también compatriota Oumy Ndour o el actor haitiano Jimmy Jean-Louis.

Muchas de las fotografías de Diop recuerdan a las de aquellos fotógrafos de los años 50 tan conocidos como el maliense Malick Sidibé, o menos populares como el senegalés Mama Casset, cuyos retratos todavía perduran en los álbumes de muchas familias de Dakar, Bamako o Abiyán.

“Es toda una generación que tras la fotografía naturalista de los colonos, que mostraban a los africanos como especímenes de observación, han humanizado la mirada fotográfica sobre los africanos y han mostrado gente normal”, cuenta Diop.

Ellos fueron los primeros en inmortalizar “africanos modernos y felices”, añade el fotógrafo, que inspira su trabajo en esta tradición fotográfica africana.

En la obra de Diop siempre hay una invitación a la reflexión, aunque no siempre lo haga a propósito.

Ocurrió con la serie “Re-mixing Hollywood” (“Remezclando Hollywood”, 2013) en la que, junto al fotógrafo franco-estadounidense Antoine Tempé, eligieron escenas de algunas de sus películas favoritas para recrearlas con lo que había en Dakar: modelos negros.

Escenas de “James Bond”, del musical “Chicago”, o de la película sobre Frida Khalo, así como una recreación de la conocida escena con pétalos de rosa de “American Beauty”, pero con hojas verdes y una chica negra, son algunas de las obras de Diop.

“La gente veía, sobre todo, lo que no está acostumbrada a ver, ese tipo de imagen con africanos en África”, explica al añadir que no era la idea original, pero que crear esa conversación es “el papel del arte”.

VISIBILIZAR LA HISTORIA NEGRA

No obstante, en “Diáspora” (2014) o “Liberty” (“Libertad”, 2016), donde Diop utiliza el autorretrato para implicarse más en el proyecto, trata de llamar la atención sobre las personas negras invisibles en la Historia.

“Lo que intento mostrar es que los negros se han organizado durante mucho tiempo para hacer movimientos de protesta por una sola cosa: su dignidad y su libertad. Y es increíble que en 2020 todavía tengamos que hacerlo”, explica el fotógrafo.

Ahora, tras casi diez años dedicado a la fotografía profesional, el artista quiere reflejar su opinión sobre los temas que le parecen “importantes” e incitar a la “reflexión” y al “diálogo”.

Por ello, para su próximo proyecto está investigando sobre la participación de las poblaciones africanas y negras en el debate medioambiental. “Cuando uno pasa toda su vida reaccionando contra todo lo que sufrimos, los estereotipos, el racismo, el quedarse fuera del capitalismo y de la creación de riqueza, se olvida de esas otras conversaciones relevantes” en las que, asegura, “también es importante que participem

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