Malick Sidibé (Malian, ca. 1935–2016)




Gelatin silver print


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Purchase with funds from the Director's Circle

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Malick Sidibé’s intimately scaled portraits capture the youth culture of Bamako, Mali, during the 1960s and 1970s. The three teenagers in this photograph are each armed with transistor radios. Their direct gazes, self-assured postures, and details of dress define clearly individualized personalities. Scholar Manthia Diawara describes how these photographs “show exactly how the young people in Bamako had embraced rock and roll as a liberation movement, adopted the consumer habits of an international youth culture, and developed a rebellious attitude toward all forms of established authority. The black-and-white photographs reflect how far the youth in Bamako had gone in their imitation of the world-view and dress style of popular music stars, and how Malick Sidibé’s photographic art was in conversation with the design of popular magazines, album covers, and movie posters of the time. To say that Bamako’s youth is on the same page as the youth in London and Paris in the 1960s and 1970s is also to acknowledge Malick Sidibé’s role in shaping and expanding that culture.”

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