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ONOMollywood Reimagines Classic Cinema With Leading African Stars

atlanta-black-star-onomollywood-diop-tempe-breakfast-at-tiffanys-artwork-1Omar Victor Diop and Antoine Tempe, both Dakar, Senegal-based photographers, have created a series of wonderfully crafted images with the Onomo International hotel as backdrop.

Drawing inspiration directly from popular American and French films that inspired the duo as artists, Diop and Tempe featured Black models in front of modernized backdrops that pay homage to classic films. Although the iconic movie moments are instantly recognizable, the photographers updated them to create uniquely dynamic representations. There are a few changes that have been made.

In the 20 images that pay homage to characters such as Truman Capote’s Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, the duo reinvents the movie motif with a humble, “What if…?” A question challenging pop-culture buffs and cinephiles to wonder what Hollywood could look like. Since its debut, the project has sparked healthy and fiery conversations, earning accolades and criticism.

Such a discussion took place in the U.S., after Diop’s interview was published on CNN.com. “We were taken aback by the racial dimension of some readers’ comment,” he admitted. “To my great surprise, I realized 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.”

The ONOMOllywood project is the product of a collaboration between a French-American photographer and a Senegalese photographer, which broadens the scope of its range.

The exhibition has been shown from December 2013 in Dakar, Abidjan, Ivory Coast and Libreville, Gabon. With 10 pieces by Diop and 10 by Tempe, the ONOMollywood exhibit is worth checking out, if you haven’t already.

Scroll through to see highlights from the exhibition below. The full ONOMOllywood series is on display in Dakar until May 12, 2014.

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