Mali Twist: Malick Sidibé opens at the Cartier Foundation in Paris.

A pair of lovers dancing barefoot in a palm-tree-filled courtyard on Christmas night; wild parties along the banks of the Niger; young James Brown fans enthusiastically clutching a record… If you had to describe Malick Sidibé’s photography in a single word, it might be joyous. Born in Soloba, a rural Malian village, at some point during the Thirties (he was never quite certain of his birthdate) Sidibé was the only one of his 17 siblings to receive an education – heading to lessons whenever his father was able to release him from shepherding duties. By 1952, his artistic talent had won him a place at the École des Artisans Soudanais in Bamako, where he met leading French photographer Gérard Guillat and began shooting the local nightlife with a Brownie camera. It was only after Malian independence in 1960, though, that he managed to open his own studio – and quickly became known as the “eye of Bamako” thanks to his natural portraits of the local youth culture. Now, a new exhibition at the Cartier Fondation in Paris is showcasing more than 250 of Malick’s groundbreaking photographs – many of them never before seen. See below for some of the highlights of Mali Twist – and book your autumn trip to Paris now.

Malick Sidibé, Mali Twist runs from October 20, 2017 to February 25, 2018 at Fondation Cartier.

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