Malian Portrait Photography

By Daniel Leers
Photographs by Seydou Keïta, El Hadj Hamidou Maïga, Abdourahmane Sakaly, Malick Sidibé, and El Hadj Tijani Àdìgún Sitou

Subjects: African Studies, Art
Imprint: Distribution Partners
Paperback : 9780615510941, 42 pages, July 2013

This catalogue introduces readers to Malian photographers Malick Sidibé and Seydou Keïta and others whose images visualize an influential form of post-colonial African identity.


The influence of Malian photographers Malick Sidibé and Seydou Keïta has been widespread since their emergence on the international scene in the 1990s. Their intimate black and white photos integrate pattern, decoration, portraiture, and iconography in entirely new ways, bespeaking a new post-colonial African identity. This catalogue features an essay and artist biographies that survey the major practitioners and innovators in Mali. Designed by artist François Deschamps, the book accompanies an exhibition of vintage and recent prints by Keïta and Sidibé, as well as Hamidou Maïga, Abdourahmane Sakaly, and Tijani Àdìgún Sitou, curated by Daniel Leers at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art.

Daniel Leers is an independent curator based in New York. From 2007–2011 he was the Beaumont and Nancy Newhall Curatorial Fellow in the Department of Photography at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.


"Photography was invented in England and France at the height of the Industrial Revolution, but the 1990s brought a startling discovery to the international art world: some of the most artful portraiture ever created was produced in Africa over the last century. 'Malian Portrait Photography' at the Samuel Dorsky Museum in New Paltz, N. Y., offers a small roundup of some of the newly acknowledged African masters, like Seydou Keïta and Malick Sidibé, and introduces lesser known ones like Hamidou Maïga, Abdourahmane Sakaly and Tijani Àdìgún Sitou. " — New York Times