Omar Victor Diop and Antoine Tempé, two Dakar-based photographers, have breathed new life into some of Hollywood’s most iconic films.
After Onomo International asked them to create a series of images using the hotel as a backdrop, the pair decided to showcase their love of cinema by reimagining some of Tinseltown’s most recognizable images with a twist.
The collection, called ONOMOllywood, features 20 images inspired by films such as Breakfast at Tiffany’s, American Beauty, Psycho, and The Matrix.
In an interview with Another Africa, Diop explained why the duo chose to remix images from American and French films:
Antoine and I brainstormed for quite a while, and then when we agreed on the idea of paying homage to our favourite cinematic moments, each of us was free to make his own list. Of course, some movies were on both lists, and at some point, we had to bargain.
While the images are strikingly beautiful, when news about the collection began to spread last year many accused the pair of using Black models to make some sort of commentary about the lack of opportunities for Black actors in Hollywood. But Diop, who is Senegalese, and Tempé, who is French, were surprised by the reaction.
Diop explained: ONOMOllywood did hit some nerves, especially in the US: after one of my interviews was published on CNN.COM . We were taken aback by the racial dimension of some readers’ comment. To my great surprise, I realised that this series could be seen by some as a sort of “revenge” of black people against a too “white” Hollywood. The “race war” in the comments section was quite epic!
It was rather amusing to see the way some readers resolutely eluded the fact that this project is the product of a collaboration between a French-American photographer and a Senegalese photographer. It was “just some black dude painting Hollywood in black because the world looked better like this.”
Despite the controversy, many have embraced the images, and show has been so successful Diop is planning another series based on Senegalese/African cinematic classics in the future.
ONOMOllywood will be on display in Dakar until May 12.
Check out some of our favorites below:
*Click to see larger images