I managed to make the Malick Sadibe exhibition at Somerset house before it closed, which was lucky as it was on the 10 places I want to visit in London list.
The building itself is really impressive and I imagine there are loads of interesting things housed inside but I didn’t have time to explore too much and headed straight for the exhibition.
Malick who is known as Mali’s most famous photographer captured the popular culture of Bamako in the newly independent Mali in the 60s and 70s. Armed with just his lightweight kodak brownie and his bicycle he set off around the city capturing scenes by the river, in the music venues and within his own studio to document the celebratory atmosphere.
I love how his images show the energy and exuberance of the young generation during a social and cultural change. The confidence in their dance moves and party attire reflecting youth across the world. His images are displayed in a very traditional way with large format black and white photos placed in plain white frames made it unfussy and focused on the intimacy of the subjects.
The images were accompanied by a soundtrack curated by DJ and African music expert Rita Ray featuring a mix of British and American rock n roll to Malian roots music, which is believed to have been played in the nightclubs and during sibedes photoshoots
It may be too late to see the show at Somerset house now but all the images are for sale at their online store as posters, post cards or within a book.