Malick Sidibé was born into a Peul family in the small village of Soloba, Mali. Noticed for his talent as a draftsman, Sidibé was encouraged to attend the School of Sudanese Craftsmen in Bamako, from which he graduated in 1955. In 1956, he decorated the ‘Photo Service’ store of Gérard Guillat, a society photographer also known as ‘Gégé la Pellicule’, who offered him a job as his apprentice. A pivotal moment in the course of his career came some two years later, when Sidibé opened his own Studio Malick in Bagadadji, located in the heart of Bamako.
The elated atmosphere of the 1950s and the coming of independence gave birth to a new generation of photographers who were embedded within the very culture they recorded. Sidibé, a central figure to the scene, was highly appreciated by the young and as such, was invited to all of Bamako’s wild revelries.
In I957, he was the only reporter in Bamako who covered such events. His photographs are replete with spontaneity: the cheer of festivity is captured duly by his lens. This activity ceased in 1978 but Sidibé continued to photograph in his studio. Sidibé has since gained wide international recognition.