Maiga’s career as a photographer was launched in the early 1950s. In 1958 he opened his first studio in N’Gouma. For two years he traced the route of the River Niger developing a clientele for his distinctive outdoor studio portraits.
All sorts of people frequented Maiga’s studio, from villagers in their finery, to dignitaries, artists, musicians, sportsmen and religious leaders. During these early years, his photographs portray Malian society in its era of transition from a cosmopolitan French colony to an independent African nation. Maiga balanced a strict sense of formality with a remarkable level of intimacy with his subjects.
As well as forming an outstanding record of Malian society, Maiga engages his subjects in a style recalled by contemporary artists like Rineke Dijkstra. While his precursor Seydou Keita and contemporary Malick Sidibe have achieved international recognition by museums, collectors and publishers worldwide, Maiga’s archive of negatives has only just come to light in 2011 when discovered by curator and gallery owner Jack Bell, and have since been acquired by Victoria & Albert Museum in London, UK, Manchester Art Gallery, Carleton College in Minnesota, USA, among other collections.
Maestros de la Fotografía
Jul 6th – Oct 2nd, 2016