A new exhibit has opened in the Manierre Dawson Gallery on the campus of West Shore Community College with a gallery talk by the artist’s son on Thurs., Oct., 26 at 2 p.m.
“Mopti à la Mode: Portrait Photographs by Tijani Sitou” is an exhibit of 31 photographs on loan from Michigan State University’s Archive of Malian Photography as part of WSCC’s three-year Humankind project.
Sub-Saharan Africa has been the focus of the project this year with the just ended exhibit of traditional African art and artifacts and speakers engaging the community with topics as varied as representations of Africa in popular culture and the history of African colonialism to the upcoming presentations of the development of African photography and sustainability in African agriculture.
Photographer Tijani Sitou was born Yorùbá in a small Nigerian town but eventually moved to Mopti, in the West African country of Mali, where he founded his studio, Photo Kodak, in 1971.
Located at the confluence of the Niger and Bani rivers in central Mali, Mopti is a cultural crossroad and a busy trading center. Sitou soon became one of the community’s most celebrated photographers and during the 1970s and 1980s, his studio was the most popular in Mopti. The photographs in this exhibit are all portraits of people from his community.
Tijani Sitou’s oldest son, Malick Sitou, also a photographer, will be speaking about his father’s work in a gallery talk. Like his father, Malick photographs in black and white and has also adopted the 12” by 12” format.
On Nov. 15, at 12:30 p.m., Dr. Candace Keller, art historian, and curator of the Mopti à la Mode exhibit, will speak on the development of African photography.
In 2014, Keller received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to digitalize the 100,000 prints and negatives from the archives of five Malian professional photographers who have been active from the 1940s to the present. These works document traditional cultural and religious practices, gender, status, colonialism and modernization in southern Mali.
The photographs in this exhibit represents a very small part of this larger collection.
The exhibit will close on Dec. 1. Visitors can see the work of Tijani Sitou in the gallery from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday and Friday 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. or on evenings and weekends during events at the Center Stage Theater in the Arts and Sciences Center.
The exhibit, as well as Malick Sitou’s gallery talk and Dr. Candace Keller’s presentation on African photography, are free and open to the public.
Author: Thomas Hawley | Executive Director of College Relations