by Malick Sidibe
Second-hand, slightly worn corners, paperback. 2008. In Maboneng
That the beginnings of Malick Sidibí©'s career as a photographer coincided with Mali's independence from France (in 1960) was serendipitous, and he was certainly the right man to portray the country's postcolonial euphoria. Sidibí© focused on the explosion of youth culture and music in 1960s Bamako, photographing all the happening events and ceremonies, including football matches, weddings, Christmas Eve celebrations and parties at clubs like Los Cubanos, Les CaÌÎÌüds, Les Las Vegas--names that convey the influx of Western music into Mali. Visiting as many as five of these venues in one evening, Sidibí© would capture Bamako's youth in a close-up snapshot style that conveys the joyful conviviality of this era, and the blending of African and western cultures in dances like the Mali Twist, and in curious combinations of traditional and European clothing. Sidibí© would then display his carefully numbered index prints, glued onto administrative folders, on his studio walls for customers--usually the subjects of his photographs--to peruse. These are the "chemises" of this book's title. As an invaluable document of 1960s Mali, and as a large portion of Sidibí©'s oeuvre,̴Ì_Chemises̴Ì_is an essential volume for anyone interested in contemporary African photography.̴Ì_
Born in Mali in 1935,̴Ì_Malick Sidibí©̴Ì_opened his own studio in Bamako in 1958. His photography is now exhibited around the world, and he is considered one of Africa's greatest portrait photographers.
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