keeping track of african and africa-related culture in the media (film, photography, television, and print)

africa.photography: Malick Sidibe Watch

Posted: February 26th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: photography | Comments Off

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Screen shot from foam web site. © M. Sidibe
Foam Editions: Malick Sidibe

Since being ‘rediscovered’ at the first ‘Rencontres Africaines de la Photographie’ in Bamako in 1994, respect for Malick Sidibé’s photographic biography has grown steadily in both the Western art world, as well as among a young generation of African photographers. His photographs are popular because they depict Africa at a time of awakening and hope, and a young generation that one might be inclined to call the jeunesse dorée, were it not for their extreme poverty compared to their bourgeois European peers.
However, something else fascinates in Sidibé’s photographs, more powerful than their nostalgia, vitality, sensitivity and humour. Something that goes beyond their innovative visual form; the photographs evoke a delicate balance of ‘imperceptible forces’. The photographer gives his models space for self-expression, ultimately the gift of every good portraitist.

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Screenshot from American Suburb X site. © M. Sidibe

American Suburb X: “Interview with Malick Sidibe (2009)”

PHE- Mali’s independence came about in 1960. How did the new political situation influence your own work?

MS- It wasn’t so much our independence as it was Western music that changed many things during that time. Music was really the revolution because after 1957, rock music, hula-hoop, swing, etc., came to the country. Music was a true revolution in Mali.

Malick Sidibe on the influences on Mali youth in the early 60’s, that found it’s way into his work.


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