Bratislava City Gallery ­– Allowance organisation of the City of Bratislava, capital of the Slovak Republic

Month of photography: Malick Sidibe | Galéria mesta Bratislavy | Allowance organisation of the City of Bratislava, capital of the Slovak Republic


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Month of photography: Malick Sidibe

Pálffy Palace (show Contact)
3. 11. 2010 - 9. 1. 2011
Curator: André Magnin

André  Magnin: There is an explanation to every success. One always finds the cause, or one of the causes in a person's life history. What is it that has made of Malick Sidibé, the Malian villager from Soloba, a great photographer?

Malick Sidibé: I think it is my father's love. One evening, in my tenth year, he told me that i was to start school at the beginning of the academic year in September 1944. normally, a Fulani child from a peasant family with seventeen children is destined himself to become a peasant. I was the only member of my family to leave the village to go to the white school at Yanfolia more than 40 kilometers away. I was a good pupil but people complained about my impudence. The charcoal drawings that i had previously done on the walls of my village i could now do with pencil and paper. Séraphin, my teacher, noticed my gift for drawing. He told everyone that I would be the first to find employment because I did not neglect drawing. I even got 19 marks out of 20 which was very unusual! I was so good at drawing that he predicted that I would cross the seas!

For the last two years you have taken photographs without being commissioned to, like your photographs from behind. How did you come upon this idea? Do you have other projects?

Like me you have undoubtedly noticed that, in the street, the men walk behind their women. They see them from the back, then they pass them and turn to look at the from in front. Only the photograph can tell you if you look nice from behind. I have invited women and sometimes men to my studio to photograph them from behind at my own expense. I have seen that they greatly appreciate this.
But I have other projects. I wanted to take the time to photograph the countryside, the daily life of the country people... I am also helping to train young photographers thanks to an association that I am active in. I wanted to give back what i have received. Because now that I am advanced in years i can say this without it sounding false, i have loved people. I have gathered the entire world. People said that my place was like the “People's Republic of China”!
I was able to help the poor, street children, the needy; people said that I was impoverishing myself while, in fact, I was enriching myself. What i gave, God had given to me. Not long ago an old man said to me: “there are two things that are difficult in life: to tell the truth and to give”. This is true. In my life, as in photography, I have told the truth and I had given. This is undoubtedly the reason for my success. A woman who knew of my reputation has given her son the first name of Malick. I have done his portrait. I have appeared frequently on television. During the Paris-Dakar people greeted me: “Uncle, you are an honour to Africa!” I thank God and if he grants me life and sight I shall continue to take photographs until I die. My life would have no meaning without photography.


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Other exhibitions/actions

Pálffy Palace / Exhibition
Curator: Vladimír Kordoš, Marián Meško
21. 4. 2020 - 30. 8. 2020
Mirbach Palace / Exhibition
Author: Albín Brunovský
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12. 3. 2020 - 30. 8. 2020
Pálffy Palace / Exhibition
Authors: Matej Krén / Juraj Krén
Curators: Kristína Zaťko Jarošová, Ivan Jančár
26. 9. 2019 - 31. 5. 2020

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