Skip to Main Content

Seydou Keïta

Malian, 1921–2001

870 followers
Follow

Seydou Keïta

Malian, 1921–2001

870
Followers
Biography

In 1948, Seydou Keïta opened a portrait studio in which he would capture a Bamako society teetering on the brink of post-colonialism. Whether of individuals or families, a sense of formality pervades each black-and-white photograph, which Keïta would take in a single shot, directing his subjects to hold distinct poses or overtly display props. Despite their staging, each photograph’s careful framework captures personality and specifics of circumstance, at once yielding intimate portraits intended for personal use and examples of Keïta’s mastery of light and composition. Following Mali’s gain of independence in 1960, Keïta was ordered to close his studio and so buried his collection of negatives; their uncovering and dissemination was only arranged several decades later when a French photojournalist met the artist in Mali and connected him with a private collector.

Related Categories
Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
Blue chip status
Blue chip representation
Represented by internationally reputable galleries.
Group
Group show at a major institution
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 5 more
Institution
Collected by a major institution
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 1 more
Publication
Reviewed by a major art publication
Artforum, and 2 more
Fair
Included in a major biennial
Fotofest International
Biography

In 1948, Seydou Keïta opened a portrait studio in which he would capture a Bamako society teetering on the brink of post-colonialism. Whether of individuals or families, a sense of formality pervades each black-and-white photograph, which Keïta would take in a single shot, directing his subjects to hold distinct poses or overtly display props. Despite their staging, each photograph’s careful framework captures personality and specifics of circumstance, at once yielding intimate portraits intended for personal use and examples of Keïta’s mastery of light and composition. Following Mali’s gain of independence in 1960, Keïta was ordered to close his studio and so buried his collection of negatives; their uncovering and dissemination was only arranged several decades later when a French photojournalist met the artist in Mali and connected him with a private collector.

Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
Blue chip status
Blue chip representation
Represented by internationally reputable galleries.
Group
Group show at a major institution
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 5 more
Institution
Collected by a major institution
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 1 more
Publication
Reviewed by a major art publication
Artforum, and 2 more
Fair
Included in a major biennial
Fotofest International
Shows Featuring Seydou Keïta
Articles Featuring Seydou Keïta
The 20 Best Booths at The Armory Show
Mar 8th, 2018
The 20 Best Booths at The Armory Show
Navigate right