Mali Twist offers an essential and immersive survey of the beloved African photographer Malick Sidibé—nicknamed “the eye of Bamako”—who chronicled the exuberant youth culture of his native Bamako, Mali, in the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s. The book is structured around his famous series: studio portraits in which young people pose alone or in groups, sometimes accompanied by quirky accessories; photographs of parties that radiate spontaneity and joy; and the comparatively lesser-known outdoor photography, depicting scenes at (for example) the edge of the Niger River, or at local swimming pools and villages. In addition to these iconic series, many previously unpublished photographs are gathered here, as well as archival documents. The series are punctuated by the authors’ texts, including testimony from friends of the photographer. With elegant paper changes and fabulous printing, this volume is a celebration of the postwar African vernacular.
'Mali Twist' pays tribute to a man who produced electrifyingly modern images of night life in the country’s capital, Bamako, in the 1960s and ’70s. (Andrew Dickson The New York Times)
If you had to describe Malick Sidibé’s photography in a single word, it might be joyous. (Hayley Maitland Vogue)
Malick Sidibé (1935–2016) was born in Soloba, a small village in Mali. He opened the Malick Studio in 1962 in the heart of Bamako, subsequently becoming involved in the cultural and social life of the capital, and proving especially popular with young people, whom he depicted as they embraced new dances from Europe and Cuba and Western fashions. Sidibé won numerous awards including the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement in 2007 at the Venice Biennale and the PhotoEspaña Prize in 2009. He is represented by Jack Shaineman Gallery in New York and M+B Gallery Los Angeles. His work is in the collections of MoMA, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY, Getty Museum, Brooklyn Museum, SFMoMA, Baltimore Museum of Art, Birmingham Museum of Art, Alabama, Philadelphia Museum of Art and RISD Museum.