Malick Sidibé’s, first solo photography exhibition in London

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Malick Sidibé, the celebrated Malian photographer, passed away in 2016. In a lifetime dedicated to photography, he took a vast collection of pictures that shed a light on the major transformations that the Malian society had been through. In his black and white pictures, he captured the character and the essence of the youth of his country; exploding with joy, embracing modernity and pop culture. A selection of his pictures is now on display in London at Somerset House. “Malick Sidibé: the eye of modern Mali”, is the Artist’s first ever solo exhibition in the UK.

The exhibition opens to Tiep à Bamako / Nightlife in Bamako, and features the party scene in Bamako soon after the country’s independence in 1960. The joy and excitement of young people dancing feverishly is almost palpable. This series include some of his famous pictures: Danser le Twist and Nuit de Noel (Happy Club).

The latter was voted one of the 100 “Most Influential Images of All Time” by Time magazine. The soundtrack of the exhibition, curated by DJ Rita Ray, references the major role music played for the youth. In a previous interview the photographer explained how everything came to life with the music, which remains perceptible in the pictures.

The exhibition continues with a series of pictures captured on the bank of the river Niger. The final section is dedicated to Sidibé’s studio work. His studio was located by a busy road and was bursting with life. Young people congregated there to have their pictures taken in an atmosphere slightly less formal than that of his famous predecessor: Seydou Keita.

Over a career that spanned, nearly four decades, Malick Sidibé dedicated himself to portraying his fellow citizens and documenting their lives as never seen before. In 2007, He was rewarded the Golden Lion at Venice Biennale, thus cementing his reputation as one of the greatest Photographers in the world.

Malick Sidibe, The Eye of Modern Mali runs until February 26th 2017 .

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