Hamidou Maiga

Hamidou Maiga
Hamidou Maiga

Maiga first trained as a mason in the Malian city of Timbuktu, but in the 1950s he bought his first camera and began to reinvent himself as a photographer. Maiga opened his first studio in N’Gouma, a small town in central Mali. From here, he would travel along sections of the Niger River, setting up a makeshift studio so that he could make portraits of local people. Maiga returned to Timbuktu in 1960, setting up a new studio, finally moving to Bamako in 1973. It was there that Maiga photographed young people of the city, often showing them dressed in stylish Western clothes against a painted backdrop of a garden, holding transistor radios and other symbols of the success and modernity that the citizens of Maki sought after independence. This style of photography connects with the nineteenth century Western tradition of posing sitters at writing desks and other symbols of social success. It also has its parallel in studio portraits that were made in British industrial towns and cities in the 1960s and ’70s, which depict Black and Asian immigrants with objects such as radios, motorbikes and sunglasses which speak of their success in their new country.


Recent solo shows include Talking Timbuktu, Jack Bell Gallery, London, 2011.

Recent group shows include Material, Salon 94, New York, USA, 2012; Les Fantômes, Jack Bell Gallery, London, 2011.

His photographs are part of the Victoria & Albert Museum Collection, London.


Martin Barlow, curator of the exhibition Moving Into Space at the National Football Museum talks about the exhibition.

Barthélémy Toguo, Lucy Azubuike and Nnenna Okore, three of the exhibited artists, talk about their work and their interest in using materials which reflect the lifestyle and experience of the people of West Africa.

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Nine countries show off their talent as five city venues link up for a summer celebration. Helen Nugent in the Guardian

Street life, dazzling dress, social commentary and a riot of sensuous colour interweave in a rich assembly of West African art, writes Charles Gore in the Times Higher Education