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“The Clubs of Bamako”

“The Clubs of Bamako” bore witness to the euphoria and optimism that accompanied the emergence of postcolonial Africa, with thirty black-and-white photographs by Malick Sidibé running along all four walls of the main gallery. In the center of the room were fourteen sculptures—inspired by the photographs and commissioned by Jeffrey Deitch—created by African artists Emile Guebehi, Nicolas Damas, Koffi Kouakou, and Coulibaly Siaka Paul. Between 1962 and 1976, Sidibé took as his subject the nightclubs and dance parties in Bamako, capital of Mali, the West African republic that won independence from France in 1960. His photos document men in thin-lapeled suits with skinny ties, porkpie hats, and Malcolm X frames, women wearing bright sleeveless dresses and Sophia Loren–style sunglasses, and couples in ultrawide bell-bottoms and Afros, all grooving to the music, seemingly unaware of the

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