Nuit de Noel (Happy Club), by Malick Sidibé, 1963
This black and white portrait by Malick Sidibe offers a striking glimpse into diverse lives in 1960s Bamako. From children dressing up in grown up costumes, to teenage boys creating a tableau for the camera, Sidibe draws on the playfulness and performance of portrait photography to suggest that the viewer is a witness to a revealing moment of intimacy between the lens and the sitters. It is testament to Sidibe’s skill that the photograph is notable at once for its sense of instant vitality, as well as for the tantalizing suggestion of what remains uncaptured on camera. In the present lot, the loosely composed image brings out the movement and vitality which characterized the youth at the time with the arrival of the twist, the cha cha cha and rock and roll in Mali. Here, the artist captures the spirit of celebration between a sister and a brother dancing, which emanates an infinite tenderness and enthusiasm between the two characters.