Ritratti Africani – Seydou Keïta, Malik Sidibé, Samuel Fosso
English version of the catalogue by Scriptum
The catalogue is published on the occasion of the exhibition curated by Filippo Maggia at the Magazzino delle Idee in Trieste, February 18 to June 11, 2023. Seydou Keïta and Malik Sidibé, born into modest families, began their careers in small photographic studios in Bamako, the capital of Mali. Their cameras recorded images of crucial years in the history of the country and of Africa. Samuel Fosso belongs to a later generation. He too began his career in a small photographic studio but his work, unlike Keïta’s and Sidibé’s, does not consist of portraits of others. Rather he portrays himself ironically, interpreting the stereotypes of Africa as seen through the eyes of the West or embodying symbolic figures of black emancipation, starting from Malcolm X. The path followed in the book is a sort of “relay”, as the curator terms it, covering a lengthy period of African history: the narrative thread traced by Keïta at the end of the forties then finds its evolutionary path that runs hand in hand with the progressive conquest and manifestation of a conscious ‘Africanness’, a distinctive quality that we find in their portraits, significantly becoming self-portraits in Fosso’s work.