Studio Malick, Bamako
At the Galleria del Cembalo (Sept 26th – Nov 8th) an unreleased exhibition shows the work of Malick Sidibé, artist from Mali, who in 2007 deserved the Golden Lion to the career at the Biennale of Venice, a lifetime achievement award.
The exhibition is curated by Laura Incardona and Laura Serani with about 50 images, from the beginning of the 60s to the 70s. They are mainly portraits realized in his studio, a kind of photography of which he became a true expert, but also images taken during the parties in the nights of Bamako, Mali’s capital city. Malick moved to Bamako when he was young, as a student. Some peculiar pieces in the exhibition are the Chemises, the cardboards on which Malick used to stick the selected artist’s proof of the photos taken at the parties: this way, his clients where able to choose the images they liked to buy.
“Europeans thought that we lived naked on the trees. Instead, from my photographs one can see that we were absolutely à la page, just like the westerners”, says the author amused. In his images we see very elegant boys and girls, in their occidental clothes, as well as in their traditional ones. The photos by Sidibé have a captivating strength, for he’s very accurate in the composition and is able to “catch the soul” of his subject. “Men have always been looking for immortality through painting, poetry and writing, but once only kings or very rich people could afford to have a portrait done”, tells Sidibé. “My father saw his own image reflected in the water. Photography is a sort of long-lasting living, even after death. I believe in the power of the images: that’s why I spent all my life trying to take portraits at their best, returning all the beauty I could see in the subjects.”
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