November 2016

Malick Sidibé’s Solo Exhibition at London’s Somerset House

6 October – 15 January 2017

Blinded in one eye since early childhood, Malian photographer Malick Sidibé (1935 or 1936 – April 2016) has, with intentional irony, become known as the “Eye of Bakamo,” for his skill and sensitivity in chronicling urban youth subculture in Mali’s post-independence period, and the revival of life and culture in the capital city. His white and black images have become one of the most obvious markers of contemporary art and culture in Mali.

Recipient of prestigious awards like the Venice Biennale in 2007, the Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography in 2003, and the Infinity Award from International Center of Photography in 2008, Sidibé is widely considered one of Mali’s most significant 20th century photographers, alongside Seydou Keïta, who similarly revealed life during the transitional phase from a cosmopolitan French colony to independence. Although Sidibé only rose to prominence in the West after French photographer Françoise Huguier discovered him in the 1990s, his work has become an era-defining glimpse into Mali’s newfound freedom, capturing the vibes of a city unshackled from colonialism.

From 6th October – 15th January 2017, London’s Somerset House will feature the late artist’s first major solo exhibition, including 45 original prints from the 1960s and 1970s grouped into three themes: “Au Fleuve Niger / Beside the Niger River,” “Tiep à Bamako / Nightlife in Bamako,” and “Le Studio / The Studio.” The exhibit is part of one of Europe and Africa’s leading African art fairs, called “1:54,” directed by Moroccan Touria El Glaoui. 1:54 is in London for the fourth consecutive year and features an array of African artists including Ibrahim El-Salahi, Alexandrea Karakashian and Zak Ové.

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