Diaspora: Honoring centuries of African migration

Diaspora: Honoring centuries of African migration

Diaspora is an ongoing portrait series by Dagmar van Weeghel that features immigrants throughout history and present day.

“These portraits are an homage to their collective experience-past and present-and a tribute to their strength, resilience and perseverance. The series was inspired by the experiences of my Zimbabwean husband who moved to Europe nine years ago. As well as a visit to Andalusia-Southern Spain which is rich in Moorish history.”

“The portraits harken back to the Orientalist watercolor portrait paintings of Josep Tapiró i Baró in Tangier, Morocco.”


” The portraits may appear exotic because of the aesthetics, but the purpose is tied to the context in which they were created – specifically, the process of ‘othering’. For centuries the West has often gazed at Africa looked through a lens which distorts the reality of the continent’s people and through a lens which distorts the reality of the continent’s people and it’s history.”

“With the current surge of immigrants in the West, these preconceived notions and stereotyping often remain and are fueled by a lack of knowledge, understanding and the fear of the unknown, the fear of the other. By offering another perspective I hope to pull in viewers and inspire them to learn more about our shared history, and ultimately change the way people see the world and each other.”

“The portrayed pose proudly, displaying a quiet elegance that is timeless. And through these images, I want to push the viewer to reconsider our own preconceived notions of what it means to be African in the west. By looking more deeply into each individual, and beyond their “otherness,” one can begin to build a bridge of understanding.”

“All the portrayed are wearing antique oriental pieces mixed with contemporary cloths which I’ve ‘sculptured’. The portrayed are shaped in a pyramid as well, referring to Ancient Egypt.”

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