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The chemises were Malick Sidibé's personal reference system for ordering prints and each is unique. Many images within the chemises do not exist in any other form, as prints were not ordered, and negatives have often not survived. These chemises provide a unique insight into the social life of Bamako, Mali, in the 1960s and 70s.
Similar chemises are part of the collections of Centre Pompidou museum in Paris and MOMA in New York:
Malick sometimes made up to five reports in one night before returning to the lab to develop the negatives and display on the studio walls index prints which were carefully numbered and glued in administrative folders. In the following days the partiers came around to look at these folders and select the photos that they wanted to buy.
About Malick Sidibé
Born in 1935 in Soloba, Mali, Malick Sidibé first studied drawing at the École des Artisans Soudanais [now the National Institute for the Arts] in Bamako, graduating in 1955.
Malick Sidibé is interested in photojournalism and has been documenting the younger generations of Malians since independence.
Beginning in the 1970s, he took portraits in his ‘Studio Malick’ (open since 1962), for which he became famous.
Malick Sidibé became, alongside Seydou Keïta, a role model for the younger generation of studio photographers, who would often cite his visual language.
His photography can be found in international collections such as MoMA, New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Getty Museum, Los Angeles, LaSalle Bank, Chicago and the Art Museum of Princeton University, New Jersey.
Malick Sidibé passed away on April 14, 2016 in Bamako.
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