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Seattle Art Museum (SAM)

Bamako, Family with Car #266, 1951-1952

Photo: Paul Macapia

Bamako, Family with Car #266, 1951-1952


Seydou Keita

Malian, 1923 - 2001

Seydou Keita did not record the names of his clients; hence the number in the title Untitled (Family with Car no. 266). Some clients asked to be photographed in front of the two cars Keita owned in the 1950s, as this family did. Buffed and shiny, the car reflects the photographer with his camera, and its slick surface contrasts with the gritty dirt road. The women are dressed in a lineup of patterns-polka dots on all three and wax prints on the two older women. Their faces offer a study in ways to respond to a camera: knit your eyebrows with a slightly wary reserve, stare it down with confidence, or offer youthful eagerness.
Gelatin silver print
20 x 24 in. (50.8 x 60.96 cm)
General Acquisition Fund
Provenance: [Gallery Paule Anglim, San Francisco, California]; purchased from gallery by Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Washington, 1997
Photo: Paul Macapia
Not currently on view


Exhibition HistorySeattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, Art from Africa: Long Steps Never Broke a Back, Feb. 7 - May 19, 2002 (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Oct. 2, 2004 - Jan. 2, 2005; Hartford, Connecticut, Wadsworth Atheneum, Feb. 12 - June 19, 2005; Cincinnati, Ohio, Cincinnati Art Museum, Oct. 8, 2005 - Jan. 1, 2006; Nashville, Tennessee, Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Jan. 27 - Apr. 30, 2006 [as African Art, African Voices: Long Steps Never Broke a Back]). Text by Pamela McClusky. No cat. no., pp. 252, 254-5, reproduced pl. 98 and frontispiece (as Untitled (Family with Car no. 266)).

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