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Five Photographers from Mali

STUDIO/ ATELIER/ FOTOTALAYƆRƆLAImage of a woman sitting wearing a boubou.
Five Photographers from Mali

The MSU Museum presents a new exhibit, "STUDIO/ ATELIER/ FOTOTALAYƆRƆLA: Five Photographers from Mali," opening October 25, 2017, an exploration of photography in Mali spanning from the 1940s to the 1990s. Through portraits and documentary photographs, the archives featured in this exhibition capture fluctuating trends, cultural festivals, and political events during and after the region’s transition from colonial French West Africa to the independent nation state of Mali.

The exhibition is anchored in the collaborative Malian-US partnership, The Archive of Malian Photography. Funded by the British Library and National Endowment for the Humanities, since 2011, a conservation team in Bamako—Mali’s capital—has been working with MSU to clean, scan, catalog and rehouse over 100,000 photographic negatives from the archives of professional photographers Mamadou Cissé, Adama Kouyaté, Abdourahmane Sakaly, Malick Sidibé, and Tijani Sitou for long-term preservation and access. 

"The Museum is honored to host this beautiful exhibition of studio photography from Mali. This West African nation has one of the world’s most vibrant and creative photographic traditions, and we are pleased to help showcase the important work being done to protect and preserve this precious patrimony, through the international partnership of the Archives for Malian Photography," says Mark Auslander, MSU Museum Director.


“Five Photographers from Mali,” is on view in the MSU Museum’s Ground Floor Gallery from October 25, 2017 – October 2018. On Wednesday, October 25 the opening program includes:



Roundtable Panel Discussion at 4:00 p.m.

“Photography and the Politics of Cultural Appropriation: Perspectives from Mali”  

Guest Panelists:
Youssouf Sakaly, AMP Project Manager in Bamako;
                              Son of Abdourahmane Sakaly and custodian of Sakaly’s archive.
Malick Sitou, Photographer;
           Son of Tijani Sitou and custodian of Sitou’s archive.

Opening exhibition reception at 6:00 p.m.
Percussion music from 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. by Sam Gould who has studied the music of many West African cultures and performed a variety of musical genres including xylophone of the Lobi-Birifor people of Ghana, West Africa.

This exhibit is produced in conjunction with the MSU College of Arts and Letters and is curated by Dr. Candace M. Keller, Associate Professor in the MSU Department of Art, Art History, and Design.

Image caption:

Mamadou Cissé

Ségu, Mali

circa 1960

A woman sitting wearing a boubou.