In the sixties and seventies he focussed solely on the local youth. Caught in surprise snapshots, or posing leisurely, these youngsters drag him along on their numerous wanderings. To sports events, relaxing on the beach, a fight in the nightclub Happy Boys or the Surf Club, out to a concert or seducing girls.
If Malick Sidibé's images emanate so much power, it is because beyond the convivial and careless atmosphere, he also illustrates the difficulty of having to adapt to life in the city. The confrontation with unemployment and alcohol, the irresistible desire to be like young whites. The pictures reflect the artist: convivial, intimate and yet not voyeuristic. They tell of a great complicity between the artist and his subjects. Like that other photographer, Keïta, Sidibé too has had to wait until the nineties to get recognition outside of his own country.
Malick Sidibe got the Hasselblad Award, the golden Lion at the Venice Biennale and lately the ICP award for lifetime achievement.
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