Malick Sidibé: Iconic portraits of African youth culture

Malick Sidibé: Iconic portraits of African youth culture
The Mali twist — The legendary photographer’s work – which examines Mali life in the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s – is being celebrated with a new book and exhibition.

Malick Sidibé – nicknamed “the eye of Bamako” – is one of Africa’s most beloved portrait photographers. Working across the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, he shot black and white studies of youth culture; unveiling an exciting, exuberant side to his hometown of Bamako in Mali.

Now, coming just over a year after his death in April 2016, the legendary photographer is being celebrated with a new show at Paris’ Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain. Titled Mali Twist, it promises to be the largest ever exhibition of Sidibé’s work, with over 300 images and 30 never-before-seen studio portraits set to go on display.

“The photographs reveal Malick Sidibé’s capacity, starting at the beginning of the 1960s, to grasp the vitality of the youth of Bamako and impose his unique style, recognised today throughout the world,” explains a spokesperson for the show. It’s set to run at the Paris institution until February 25 next year.

An accompanying book of the same name is also available; packed with lavish examples of his studio portraits and party shots. His lesser known work – such as his outdoor photography set around local villages and the Niger River – is also featured.

Un yéyé en position, 1963. Collection Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris © Malick Sidibé Extract from Mali Twist (Éditions Xavier Barral, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, 2017)

Un yéyé en position, 1963. Collection Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris
© Malick Sidibé
Extract from Mali Twist (Éditions Xavier Barral, Fondation
Cartier pour l’art contemporain, 2017)

Mon chapeau et pattes d’éléphant, 1974. Collection Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris © Malick Sidibé Extract from Mali Twist (Éditions Xavier Barral, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, 2017)

Mon chapeau et pattes d’éléphant, 1974. Collection Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris
© Malick Sidibé
Extract from Mali Twist (Éditions Xavier Barral, Fondation
Cartier pour l’art contemporain, 2017)

Les amis dans la même tenue, 1972. Collection Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris © Malick Sidibé Extract from Mali Twist (Éditions Xavier Barral, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, 2017)

Les amis dans la même tenue, 1972. Collection Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris
© Malick Sidibé
Extract from Mali Twist (Éditions Xavier Barral, Fondation
Cartier pour l’art contemporain, 2017)

Un gentleman en position, 1980. Collection Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris © Malick Sidibé Extract from Mali Twist (Éditions Xavier Barral, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, 2017)

Un gentleman en position, 1980. Collection Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris
© Malick Sidibé
Extract from Mali Twist (Éditions Xavier Barral, Fondation
Cartier pour l’art contemporain, 2017)

Circa 1972. Collection Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris © Malick Sidibé Extract from Mali Twist (Éditions Xavier Barral, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, 2017)

Circa 1972. Collection Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris
© Malick Sidibé
Extract from Mali Twist (Éditions Xavier Barral, Fondation
Cartier pour l’art contemporain, 2017)

Nuit de Noël, 1963. Collection Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris © Malick Sidibé Extract from Mali Twist (Éditions Xavier Barral, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, 2017)

Nuit de Noël, 1963. Collection Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris
© Malick Sidibé
Extract from Mali Twist (Éditions Xavier Barral, Fondation
Cartier pour l’art contemporain, 2017)

1973. Collection Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris © Malick Sidibé Extract from Mali Twist (Éditions Xavier Barral, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, 2017)

1973. Collection Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris
© Malick Sidibé
Extract from Mali Twist (Éditions Xavier Barral, Fondation
Cartier pour l’art contemporain, 2017)

Fans de James Brown, 1965. Collection Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris © Malick Sidibé Extract from Mali Twist (Éditions Xavier Barral, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, 2017)

Fans de James Brown, 1965.
Collection Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris
© Malick Sidibé
Extract from Mali Twist (Éditions Xavier Barral, Fondation
Cartier pour l’art contemporain, 2017)

1968. Collection Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris © Malick Sidibé Extract from Mali Twist (Éditions Xavier Barral, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, 2017)

1968. Collection Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris
© Malick Sidibé
Extract from Mali Twist (Éditions Xavier Barral, Fondation
Cartier pour l’art contemporain, 2017)

Danser le twist, 1965. Collection Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris © Malick Sidibé Extract from Mali Twist (Éditions Xavier Barral, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, 2017)

Danser le twist, 1965. Collection Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris
© Malick Sidibé
Extract from Mali Twist (Éditions Xavier Barral, Fondation
Cartier pour l’art contemporain, 2017)

À la plage, 1974. Collection Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris © Malick Sidibé Extract from Mali Twist (Éditions Xavier Barral, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, 2017)

À la plage, 1974. Collection Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris
© Malick Sidibé
Extract from Mali Twist (Éditions Xavier Barral, Fondation
Cartier pour l’art contemporain, 2017)

Malick Sidibe: Mali Twist is available now, and the accompanying exhibition is on show at Fondation Cartier from 20 October-25 February, 2018.

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