Malick Sidibé: Mali, 1936-2016

Malick Sidibé, Bamako, 2001

Have thought often of Sidibé since the start of the conflict in Northern Mali in 2012, Touareg liberation movements meeting Al Qaida in the Maghreb and inching south towards Bamako. I wrote about Sidibé in 2010, here, on the occasion of his 'discovery' by Europe and an exhibition and documentary film about his work. 

Modernity, liberation movements, post-coloniality, secularism and photography: all collided in Sidibé's seemingly open and joyful Bamako.  I wonder now if the joy had anything to do with such social movements, and if it is still there just in different, more constrictive clothing and religious edicts. This is just one of the many things we do not know about Africa.