Omar Victor Diop – Frida

Onomolliwood: If Hollywood Classics Were Made in Africa

'American Beauty' Re-envisioned by Omar Victor Diop

‘American Beauty’ Re-envisioned by Omar Victor Diop

What if American Beauty, The Matrix, Frida, and Breakfast at Tiffany’s were all made in Africa?

Senegal-based photographers, Senegal-born Omar Victor Diop and French-born American Antoine Tempé explored that very question. They answered with their creative Onomolliwood photography series.

Shot in Dakar, the beautiful collection an ode to some of Hollywood’s greatest films — with an African twist.

“I wanted to imagine what these movies would look like if they were conceived and shot in Africa,” Diop told CNN (which, I should note, has been overrun by comment trolls — the reason for bringing this here).

The interview is actually quite interesting. See a few snippets and remaining photos from the shoot below.

'The Matrix' Re-envisioned by Omar Victor Diop

‘The Matrix’ Re-envisioned by Omar Victor Diop

On the inspiration behind the project:

“I worked on this project with French-born American photographer Antoine Tempe after an invitation by the Onomo Hotel Group. We thought that actually using cinema as a general theme would be a way for our respective creative universes to meet because cinema involves fashion and aesthetics, but it also involves an important performance dimension.

We started working with the movies we liked, the movies that had influenced us. I remember watching in the 1980s the same movies as the young people of Paris and New York and maybe Bangkok. At the end of the day we’re all the same young people regardless of where you were born and where you were raised and somehow I wanted to show this also through the choice of movies in the series.”

'Frida' Re-envisioned by Omar Victor Diop

‘Frida’ Re-envisioned by Omar Victor Diop

On whether they are trying to show the modern side of Dakar and Senegal:

“…It’s not even about the new Africa, it’s just that because of globalization and the internet the modernity of Africa has sort of accelerated. But even back in the 1980s, when I was just a kid, I can tell you that Dakar was very modernized and international.

Another advantage we had was that we were open to not only the Western world but the entire world — we had African cultural content, Asian content, Chinese or Indian movies. It’s just a shame that all of this, especially the urban life of the 1980s, is not documented.”

'Breakfast at Tiffanys' Re-envisioned by Antoine Tempe

‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ Re-envisioned as ‘Breakfast at Onomo’s’ by Antoine Tempe

On transitioning from the corporate world to becoming artist:

“I quit my job a year ago; it was a quite bold decision that scared many people around me because being an artist was not considered as a valid option. I come from a family where my mum is a lawyer and my dad is a chartered accountant — both of them having very senior jobs throughout their careers — and I attended top schools that were very advanced and quite expensive. With the money my family invested in me, of course you can imagine my mum being quite devastated, but I now have their full support.”