Malick Sidibe: ‘all there’s left to do is have fun…’

Next time you should walk.’ Those were the philosophical words given to us by internationally famous Malian photographer, Malick Sidibe.

Malick professed we would see more by walking, and as we looked carefully through his large collection of prints it was not difficult to see why he possessed such a view. Malick has been capturing images of Mali for nearly 60 years, documenting an iconic and exciting era of post colonial independence.

At art school Malick tells us he realised ‘the camera was faster than the pencil‘. He laughs as he tells us of a dream his mother had in the same year he acquired his first camera, ‘she imagined I filled the house with images‘.

Malick proudly shows us his first camera (dated 1956) and some beautiful old prints

The Whole Family on a Motorcycle‘ (1962), Malick Sidibe

Dancing the Twist‘ (1965), Malick Sidibe

During the Great Heat‘ (1976) Malick Sidibe

This photo was taken by Malick Sidibe during a shoot for New York Times Magazine as part of an exhibition showcasing ‘tribal-inspired clothing’.

While others continue to admire his work and stare wistfully at the images of Mali’s past and present, Malick claims ‘all there’s left to do is have fun‘. Sat in an armchair of his Bamako studio, with a lifetime of photography stored around him, it became clear where such philosophising had stemmed from.

Malick in his Bamako studio

5 responses to “Malick Sidibe: ‘all there’s left to do is have fun…’

  1. Amazing pictures… The one of the 2 dapper lads was on display at the southbank centre a few months back.

  2. Wow, great pictures. I love the one of the people in the water. We used to do ‘hippo-ing’ like that in the Niger. That’s also a good place to gorge on those mangoes when the juice runs down to your elbows :o)

  3. Grim and Grumps

    hello again, we have just been to visit R &D at their new flat in a luxury retirement village, eating sandwiches and cakes, tea coffee, and later white fizzy wine and more sandwiches and cakes, l cant think of anything so far removed from what you are experiencing. The rich variety of life!!! you keep reminding me of the things we were not even aware of and only are now because of you two. Keep up the good work or the good playing, whichever pleases you. lots of love G & G

  4. Hope you will turn this into a book when all this is over. Makes fascinating reading.

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