Modern Mali

Today I went to an exhibition in Somerset House by Malick Sidbé. ‘The Eye of Modern Mali.’ Malick Sidbé is a photographer, he is known for his Black and White photographs. In this exhibition, he documented the city’s nascent youth culture. He captured their confidence in a country shaking off the restriction of colonialism. He was also known ‘The eye of Bamako’He immerse himself in the scene as like he was not there; armed with a lightweight Kodak Brownie camera equipped with a flash. He was to be said the  country’s only traveling   photographer, he cycled to graduation celebrations, beach parties and also the capital’s many many nightclubs to shoot dressed up youth at play.

The exhibition starts with his first series ‘Nightlife in Bamako,’ made between 1963 and 1965, then ‘the niger river,’ taken in the 1970s showing youths enjoying a languorous outing by the river. His last series is ‘The Studio.’ He became well known internationally  in the early 1990s as he met Andre Magin the curator of this exhibition helped him. Sidbe was awarded the Golden Lion at Vernice in 2007 because he was able to enhance photography stature in Mali, contributed to its history, enriched its image archive or increased awareness of the textures and transformations of African culture in the second half of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century.


I really enjoyed this exhibition because I explored the life and culture of youths in Mali. You see them enjoying themselves without any phones, social media or technology but with people around them. I also liked the soundtrack that was playing (DJ Rita Ray) it had a mix of acoustic roots music and groundbreaking electric fusions from the 1960’s and 70’s, it made me feel like I was living in the moments with the youths in Mali.


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