Celebrated Malian photographer Malick Sidibé died on April 14. Affectionately called the “Eye of Bamako” for his social reportage in Mali, he is best known for his black-and-white studies of popular culture in Bamako.

Sidibé was born in 1935 into a Peul family in a small village in Soloba, and graduated from school in 1952. He completed his studies in design and jewelry at the École des Artisans Soudanais in Bamako. In 1958, he opened his own studio called Studio Malick in Bamako, specializing in documentary photography and focusing on the youth culture of the Malian capital. In the 1970s, he turned towards studio portraiture. Sidibé gained increased photography recognition through the first meeting on African photography in Mali in 1994.


While Sidibé was comfortable in his role as documentary photographer, he struck out into new territory in the last decade and a half with his Vue de dos series, in which he takes on the genre of the female nude.

Malick Sidibé like ‘Okhai Ojeikere and Seydou Keita is among the most renowned modern photographers from Africa, whose works have inspired successive generations including Hassan Hajjaj, Victor Diop and Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou. In a fitting tribute, in 2006, Tigerlily Films made a documentary, Dolce Vita Africana on him at work in his studio in Bamako. The documentary also features him discussing his work at a reunion with many of his friends and former photographic subjects.

Sidibé received several awards including the Hasselblad Award for photography (2003), 52nd Venice Biennale’s Golden Lion (2007), and the ICP Infinity Award for Lifetime Achievement (2008). His work has been exhibited extensively across Africa, Europe, the United States and Japan. They can be found in the collection of several prominent institutions and museums all over the world, and form part of The Jean Pigozzi Contemporary African Art Collection (CAAC).


Images:, https://fatnancyloves.files,

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