Back Views [Vues de Dos]

Malick Sidibé, Malian, 1936 - 2016



Gelatin silver print, glass, cardboard, tape, and string

Overall: 8 3/8 × 5 7/8 in. (21.2 × 14.9 cm)

Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Purchased through the Olivia H. Parker and John O. Parker '58 Acquisition Fund

© Malick Sidibé



Place Made: Mali, Western Africa, Africa


21st century

Object Name


Research Area



Not on view


Signed and inscribed, in black ink, bottom left to right: Vues de dos.2002 Malick Sidibe MS 2003


With her back to the camera, the sitter in Sidibé’s Back Views is subverting the norms of portraiture in which a face is visibly at the center. Known as one of the earliest African studio photographers, Sidibé’s portraits of people in Mali capture the joy, tensions, and style of post-independence Bamako. That she is reclining recalls the fetishistic trope of the “reclining female nude” throughout Western art, but that she is turned away from the camera lends a sense of mystery and opacity—perhaps a Black feminist resistance to being captured by the camera’s gaze.

From the 2023 exhibition Homecoming: Domesticity and Kinship in Global African Art, curated by Alexandra Thomas, Curatorial Research Associate

Course History

HIST 6.3, AAAS 88.2, WGST 38.2, Women and Gender in the African Diaspora, Rashauna Chenault, Spring 2012

AAAS 11, Introduction to African Studies, Naaborko Sackeyfio, Spring 2013

SART 29, Photography I, Christina Seely, Winter 2015

Exhibition History

Black Womanhood: Images, Icons, and Ideologies of the African Body, William B. Jaffe and Evelyn A. Jaffe Hall Galleries, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, April 1-August 10, 2008; Davis Museum and Cultural Center, Wellesley College, Wellesley, Massachusetts, September 10-December 10, 2008; San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, California, January 21-April 26, 2009

Collectanea: The Museum as Hunter and Gatherer, Alvin P. Gutman Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, May 21, 2005-February 12, 2006.

Homecoming: Domesticity and Kinship in Global African Art, Harteveldt Family Gallery, Owen Robertson Cheatham Gallery, and Northeast Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth, Hanover, New Hampshire, July 22, 2023–May 25, 2024.

Publication History

Barbara Thompson, "The African Collection at the Hood Museum of Art," African Arts, Volume XXXVII, No. 2, Los Angeles: African Studies Center, University of California, 2004, ill. p. 33.

Barbara Thompson, Black Womanhood: Images, Icons, and Ideologies of the African Body, Seattle: University of Washington Press [Hanover: Trustees of Dartmouth College], 2008, p. 331, plate 112


The artist; Jack Shainman Gallery, New York, New York; sold to present collection, 2003.

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