THE RENCONTRES D'ARLES
The Rencontres d'Arles (formerly known as the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie d'Arles) is a summer photography festival founded in 1970 by Arles photographer Lucien Clergue, author Michel Tournier and historian Jean-Maurice Rouquette.
The Rencontres d'Arles' policy of programming almost exclusively new work has earned it a world-wide reputation. In 2013, there were 96000 visitors to the festival.
The exhibitions, often co-produced with both French and foreign museums and institutions, are given on various heritage sites, suitably stage-designed for the purpose. Some sites (for example, 12th century chapels or 19th century industrial buildings) are open to the public only for the duration of the festival.
Many photographers have been discovered as a result of the Rencontres; a sure sign of the festival's importance as a springboard for photographic and contemporary creative talent.
For its depth and reach the programme draws on the points of view of numerous specialists, around twenty each year, from different fields. Sometimes part of the programming is entrusted to an artist, examples including Martin Parr in 2004, Raymond Depardon in 2006, Arles-born couturier Christian Lacroix in 2008 and Nan Goldin in 2009.
OMAR VICTOR DIOP
" Omar Victor Diop's goal is to capture the diversity of contemporary Africa's many societies and ways of life. After his first public show, at the Rencontres de Bamako in 2011, he launched the series Le Studio des vanités, for which he designed costumes, sets, every element of the final image. In 'Diaspora' (2014) he produced a series of self-portraits doubling as portraits of legendary African figures. A classicist in the noblest sense of the term, Omar Victor Diop nevertheless captures the vibrations of pop and modernity." Claire Jacquet
" Group and individual identity and discovery are the main themes of Omar Victor Diop's 'Diaspora' project, a journey in time that reveals and deepens the seldom-told story of Africans outside Africa. Mr. Diop prompts us to reconsider our idea of history and to provide answers to his perpetual questioning of his identity as an artist and as a human being. He started this series during a four-month residency in Spain, where he found himself in the position of foreigner. Artworks from the 15th to 19th century inspired him to imagine that period as ushering in intense (and previously non-existent) interactions between Africa and the rest of the world. This is the first time he has staged himself in his art, becoming narrator and character. He makes references to the world of sport, especially football, as a way of showing the duality of a life of fame and glory while also becoming 'the other'. This paradox can be found in today's football players and men depicted in self-portraits." Raquel Wilson, cultural agent
Exhibition venue: Grande Halle, Parc des Ateliers.
First picture of the slide show : Grande Halle_Arles_©AreaPaca