Malick Sidibé, the Eye of Bamako, passed away on April 14. He was well known for his iconic photography that has reached those not only within his home country Mali but across the world. If you don’t know who Sidibé was, you will likely have come across a piece of artwork inspired by him. For example, the music video for Janet Jackson’s “Gone ‘til It’s Gone” shows scenes that draw from Sidibé’s photography.

 

(RFI)

(RFI)

Born in 1936, Sidibé gained renown for his black and white photography of Bamako youth in the 1960s and 1970s. He captured young Malians at a time when the country gained independence; he showed their youthfulness, their freedom, and their hopes alongside their love for fashion and dances, such as the twist and Afro-Cuban music. Gallery owner André Magnin described him as a “monument of photography,” a creator of images “full of tenderness and beauty.”

 

His studio photographs, which feature portraits, are thought to have inspired other studio photographers across West Africa. In its heyday, people from across the world would come to his studio to have their photos taken. Sidibé’s work has not only won him exhibitions around the world, it has also won him awards. Sidibé was the first African and the first photographer to be awarded the Golden Lion Award for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Biennale. He has taken fashion photographs for the New York Times, and his most recent solo exhibition will be showing at Jack Shainman Gallery in New York City.

 

May Malick Sidibé’s soul rest in peace and his iconic photography remain timeless. Share comments below or by reaching us on Twitter @rafeeeeta