Sidibé is a famous Malian photographer noted for
his black-and-white studies of popular culture in the 1960s
in Bamako. He was born in Soloba, Mali, and completed his
studies in design and jewelry in the École des Artisans
Soudanais (now the Institut National des Arts) in Bamako.
In 1955, he undertook an apprenticeship at Gérard
Guillat-Guignard's Photo Service Boutique, also known as
"Gégé la pellicule". Thats
how he got started in photography.
1958, Malick Sidibe opened the "Studio Malick"
in the centre of Bamako where he still prints his portraits
today and repairs cameras. The wildness of the 1950s,
and the coming of independence, gave birth to a new generation
of photographers who were totally involved in the cultural
and social life that they recorded. Malick Sidibé,
was a pivotal character in all this, highly appreciated
by young people, he was present at all the soirees where
the young, organized in clubs, learned the new dances coming
from Europe and Cuba, and dressed elegantly in Western clothes.
In I957 he was the only reporter in Bamako who covered all
the events, festivities and surprise-parties. On Saturdays
these parties lasted until dawn and continued on Sunday
on the banks of the river Niger. This on-the-spot coverage
provided simple pictures, full of truth and complicity.
From his photos an insouciance and spontaneity emerges:
he captured the playful partying, full of laughter and life.
In the 1970s, Sidibé turned towards the making of
his now world famous studio portraits. He quit this activity
in 1978, but continued his studio photography and repairing
cameras. When his work gained an international reputation,
particularly after the first meetings on African photography
in Mali in 1994, new horizons opened up for him. People
flock to his studio, magazines commission photo-reports,
and he is invited almost everywhere in the world for exhibitions
work has been widely exhibited in Europe (notably,at Fondation
Cartier, in Paris), the United States and Japan. Many of
his photographs are part of the Contemporary
African Art Collection (CAAC) of Jean Pigozzi.
2003, Sidibé received the Hasselblad Award for photography
and, in 2007 he was awarded the
Venice Biennale's Golden Lion for lifetime achievement
award. It was the first time it had been presented to a
2006 Tigerlily Films made a documentary entitled "Dolce
Vita Africana" about Malick Sidibé, filming
him at work in his studio in Bamako, having a reunion with
many of his friends (and former photographic subjects) from
his younger days and speaking to him about his work.
2008, Sidibé was awarded the ICP Infinity Award for