Malick Sidibé (ML)
Image: Malick Sidibé. Courtesy Gallery FIFTY ONE.
Born 1935, Soloba, Mali
Lived and worked in Bamako, Mali
Malick Sidibé became famous for his studio portraits and images capturing young Africans dancing joyful on the rhythms of the twist, the cha cha cha and rock ’n roll, set against a backdrop of a new area for Mali after it’s independence from France in 1960.
He was born into a farmer family in Soloba, a small village in Mali. He was the first of his family to attend school and receive formal education. As a child, his drawing talent was already noticed. In the early 1950s, Sidibé went to Bamako, the capital of Mali, with a scholarship to study at the Maison des artistans du Soudan (at that time, Mali was part of the colony of French Soudan), where he graduated in Jewelery and Design and was introduced to photography. In 1955, Sidibé started working as an intern for the French photographer Gérard Guillat-Guignard, who hired him to paint the backgrounds in his studio and to assist with calibrating equipment and making prints. Later on, he was allowed to portray the African clients of the studio. In 1956, Sidibé bought his own camera and a year later he opened ‘Studio Malick’, where he would work until his dead in 2016.