Malick Sidibé

Early Life

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Malick Sidibé was a Malian photographer. He was born in either 1935 or 1936 in Soloba Mali into a peasant family and grew up helping his father sheperdering. When he was young, people began to notice his drawing skills and at age 10 he was selected to attend the School of Sudanese Craftsmen. He finished school in 1952 and was trained as a jewelry maker. Three years later, in
1955, he graduated from École des Artisans Soudanais in Bamako. In that same year he became the apprentice to Gérard Guillat-Guignard at his Photo Service Boutique where he developed his skill and passion for photography.

Capturing Mali

A few years later, he began to photograph every day life in Bamako. He worked in black and white photographs and wanted to document the transition of Mali as it gained independence from France after 1960. A lot of his photos tried to capture the westernization of Mali through night life, parties, and the everyday life of the young people at the time. Scenes in his pictures included: candid moments in the streets, lively portraits, scenes of celebration, nightlife, studio portraits, and everyday life of the young people. In 1958 he opened his commercial studio, Studio Malick. This was when he started to do more studio portraits of people in addition to street life.


Screen Shot 2017-03-26 at 4.27.57 PMMalick Sidibé is world renowned and has many achievements. He has had solo exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, and Musée Pincé in Angers. In 2003 he was awarded the Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography. The Hasselblad Award is one of the most presitgious international photography prize you can be awarded. The recipient is someone who has made “pioneering achievements in photographic art” and who has impacted youger photographers (Hasselblad Foundation). One million swedish krona, which is a little more than $110,000, is also given to the recipient. In 2007 he was given the Golden Lion award for Lifetime Achievement. He was the first African to receive this award. In 2008 he won the International Center of Photography award.



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Works Cited

Hasselblad Foundation. About the Hasselblad Award. Hasselblad Foundation. [Online]. Available:

Ranson, Anne. (2016). Malick Sidibe. Encyclpedia Britannica. [Online]. Available:

Owunna, Mikael. (2016). The Photography of Malick Sidiebe (B. 1935/6). Owning My Truth while finding my way. [Online]. Available:é-b-19356

Boucher, Brian. (2016). Malian Photographer Malick Sidibe Dies at 80. artnet. [Online]. Available:

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