Malick Sidibé: The Eye of Modern Mali

Somerset House, London, United Kingdom
06 Oct 2016 - 26 Feb 2017

Malick Sidibé: The Eye of Modern Mali

Malick Sidibé, A la plage, 1974. Photograph: Malick Sidibé/Galerie Magnin-A, Paris

This autumn, Somerset House and 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair, in collaboration with MAGNIN-A Gallery, Paris, present Malick Sidibé: The Eye of Modern Mali, the first major solo exhibition in the UK of the late Malian photographer.

Sidibé is acclaimed for his black-and-white images chronicling the lives and culture of the Malian capital, Bamako, in the wake of the country’s independence. Curated by André Magnin and Philippe Boutté, the exhibition will showcase 45 original prints from the 1960s and 1970s around three defined themes: ‘Au Fleuve Niger / Beside the Niger River’, ‘Tiep à Bamako / Nightlife in Bamako’, and ‘Le Studio / The Studio’.

With the arrival of rock ‘n’ roll, cutting-edge fashions, and independence in 1960, his images capture the essence of joie de vivre – the energy and exuberance of young, newly independent Africans, experiencing an era of significant social and cultural change.

Sidibé once said “music freed us”.  Accompanying the photographs, the gallery soundtrack will recreate the spirit and soul of the nightclubs where he shot and his own Studio Malick, where “often it was like a party”.  Curated by DJ, presenter and African music expert Rita Ray, it will feature an eclectic mix of music and urban sounds to which Sidibé’s photographic subjects may have listened, from the familiar rock ‘n’ roll, pop songs and fusions of the continent in the 60s and 70s to timeless Malian roots music.

In addition, the exhibition space will nod to the look and feel of Studio Malick, with distinctive black-and-white patterned vinyl flooring.

Inspired by the exhibition, a pop-up shop will open in the Courtyard Rooms from 4 November, with a collection of one-off, unusual and hard-to-find wares, sourced in or influenced by Mali and Africa. Compiled by Somerset House and Darkroom, it will include vintage vinyl, contemporary and vintage decorative jewellery, printed and woven bags, scarves and cushions, plus posters, books and stationery.

Sidibé was the first photographer, and first African artist, to receive a Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale in 2007. Other significant awards include The Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography in 2003, as well as the Infinity Award from the International Center of Photography in 2008 and winning the Arts and Entertainments category at the World Press Photo competition in 2010.

The exhibition will launch at 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair and continue as a standalone show throughout Somerset House’s winter season.





All content © 2024 Contemporary And. All Rights Reserved. Website by SHIFT