feature: photographer malick sidibe: mali’s life & times

April 4, 2014

Mali-born artist Malick Sidibe has become an icon within the firmament of the West African country’s art world and history, as a photographer documenting his country’s shift from being a French colony to gaining independence on September 22, 1960. Sidibe’s photos are all honest imagery mirroring the Malians’ stress, beauty, perseverance, and freedom from the days of bondage, and its current state of the union.

By Tip Jordan, AFROPUNK Contributor *
Photos © Malick Sidibe

Widely known for his luxurious images in black and white, Malick Sidibe, interestingly enough, didn’t plan on being a photographer as a child. He was a Shepard in his native town Bamako, as a young boy living in a remote town, having access only to conversations about the peanut trade in Senegal and news on the country Gambia.

While attending school, Sidibe was given the opportunity by the school Principal to decorate renowned photographer, Gérard Guillot’s studio. As he took advantage of the opportunity and became Guillot’s shadow, the revering spirit for nature, people, and humanity came to blossom as the legend we know of today!

“It’s very important to be able to put people at their ease. It’s a world, someone’s face. When I capture it, I see the future of the world. I believe with my heart and soul in the power of the image, but you also have to be sociable. I’m lucky. It’s in my nature.” – Malick Sidibé Photographs: One Nation under a Groove, The Guardian.

Malick Sidibe is represented by Fifty One Fine Art Photography.

Check out the video below to get a better understanding of the man himself, Malick Sidibe!

* Tip Jordan’s website: