1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair, Somerset House, London WC2, 6th–9th October 2016
This year’s fair features some forty leading specialist galleries drawn from eighteen counties with a total of over a hundred and thirty artists of African origin. One special feature is an exhibition of late Malian photographer Malick Sidibé (1935/6 – 2016) – he was not sure which year he was born in.
This is the first solo exhibition of his work and although being launched at the Fair it will continue as part of the Somerset House Winter Season.
Sidibé was the right man in the right place as he was in Mali’s capital Bamako at the time of the country’s independence and he very much caught the spirit of the place though his black -and-white imagery. There are forty-five original prints from the 60s and 70s on display and they are divided into three themed areas: ‘Au Fleuve Niger / Beside the Niger River’, ‘Tiep à Bamako / Nightlife in Bamako’, and ‘Le Studio / The Studio’.
Acknowledging Sidibé’s remark that “music freed us” the exhibition will have its own soundtrack which will recall not only the nightclubs where he took many of the images but also his own studio (Studio Malick) where “often it was like a party”. He was significantly the first African artist and photographer to be awarded a Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale in 2007.
The exhibition Malick Sidibé: The Eye of Modern Mali continues until 15th January 2017.