(K. Brent Tomer),
The door is open at Malick Sidibe’s studio, and all are welcome. Fine dress is required; accessories are encouraged.
Mr Sidibe ran a photography studio in Bamako, Mali for 30 years before he became known internationally. For a few francs, he shot portraits of Malians in a country imagining itself anew. He produced thousands of images, snapping people playing, swimming and dancing, often men and women mid-swing on the dance floor. Malick Sidibe died on April 15th, aged 80.
Mali became an independent country in 1960, just as Mr Sidibe began thinking about opening his own studio. The capital, Bamako, had long been a small village on the Niger river until French colonists goaded it into focus with a bridge, trains and hotels. Under their first free president, urban Bamakois experimented with prosperity and the collision of diverse Malian culture with styles from Europe and the Soviet Union. Men were as interested in suits as they were in colourful boubous, traditional shag hunting shirts or crisp wide ties. Women wore dresses and trousers. They danced to vinyl records of brassy town bands, and drove…Continue reading