Malick Sidibé – current exhibit in Antwerp (BE) : “old and unseen work”

Every year I visit the Hasselblad Center in Gothenburg. Three years ago I saw the work of Malick Sidibé, in 2003. Fine art and documentary work in black and white. Now also showing at Fifty one fine art photography in Antwerp (BE). This year Malick Sidibé was awarded the Venice Biennale’s Golden Lion for lifetime achievement award. It was the first time it had been presented to a photographer.

B.T.W. , am I extra fond of his work because he worked with 6×6 Rolleiflex ? I just love my classic 2,8A …

“Statement and recommendation by the Director of the 52nd International Art Exhibition. Photography has been perhaps the most widely and inventively used artistic medium in Africa in the post- colonial era, as a spate of recent exhibitions has clearly shown. As they have also demonstrated beyond any shadow of a doubt, no African artist has done more to enhance photography’s stature in the region, contribute to its history, enrich its image archive or increase our awareness of the textures and transformations of African culture in the second half of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first than Malick Sidibé.

Operating primarily from a small studio on one of the busiest streets of central Bamako, the capital of Mali, Sidibé has been the signal portraitist of his city and nation and the intimate observer of the Malian musical scene. Like August Sander, the great German photographer, he has preserved the likenesses of countless individuals while in the process recording the face of the rapidly changing society they, as citizens, have collectively brought into being.

For the 52nd Biennale of 2007 Sidibé has joined forces with the organizers of the project “L’Afrique Chante Contre le SIDA” to take pictures of the contestants in a countrywide competition for singers and song writers who composed and performed works in Mali’s various languages designed to provide information about the disease, its prevention and its treatment. The unique presence of each of the contestants is the fruit of a collaboration between the subject and the photographer, a collaboration subtly guided by his unfailing tact and captured by his acute eye. At 72 Malick Sidibé is the undisputed master of his photographic generation. No artists anywhere is more deserving of the 2007 Biennale of Venice’s Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement, and none more worthy of being the first African so honored.”