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Malick Sidibé: ‘The Eye of Modern Mali’ – Somerset House

By Francesca Moutafis on November 17, 2016 in Art, Exhibitions
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In his first major U.K solo exhibition, photographer Malik Sidibé captures the spirit and vigour of Mali’s post-independence youth.

Freed from its colonial past, and energised by its new found independence, the collection of 45 photographs tells the story of Bamako’s vibrant youth. Spread over three rooms, the black-and-white candid images depict familiar scenes of adolescence and family, washed over with a spirited dose of Malian culture. Teenagers dance barefoot at parties, groups of young Malian men pose in newly adopted Parisian fashions and families gather to celebrate milestones.

Sidibé – a native of Bamako, trained as a jewellery designer before turning his focus to photography in the mid-1950’s with the purchase of a “Brownie Flash” camera. Immersed in Mali’s youth culture – and with his camera in hand – Sidibé began documenting the lives of his friends and family from the 1960’s – 1970’s, eventually opening up his own portrait studio. His work remained for many years relatively unknown within the Western world, however, in 2007 he became the first photographer to win a Golden Lion award for lifetime achievement at the Venice Biennale.

Organised into three sections; Beside the Niger River, Nightlife in Bamako and The Studio, the selected works are accompanied by a carefully curated soundtrack – a mix of styles reminiscent of the dynamism present in Sidibé’s images.

‘Malick Sidibé: The Eye of Modern Mali’
FREE
06 Oct 2016–15 Jan 2017
Terrace Rooms, South Wing
Somerset House
To find out more visit www.somersethouse.org.uk

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Francesca MoutafisView all posts by Francesca Moutafis