04/10/2012 08:57 am ET

Malick Sidibe's Solo Exhibition Shows Photographs Of Mali's Cultural Climate (PHOTOS)

When you think of Mali, chances are images of separatist uprisings and coups d'état come to mind. The prolific photographer Malick Sidibe is changing this narrow view of his homeland through black-and-white photographs of the colorful 1960s social scene there.

His documentation of Bamako, Mali's capital, depicts how European and Cuban influences spurred spontaneous experimentation in fashion, dance and nightlife. As the only photographer to document this period in Malian history, Sidibe created a collection both historically important and achingly cool.

Born in a small village in Mali in 1935, Sidibe opened up a photography studio in the late 1950's and used his cultural surroundings as inspiration. His work has since been shown in the MOMA and the Met, as well as institutions worldwide. His upcoming solo exhibition at agnes b. Galerie Boutique in New York is packed with afros, wild patterns, dance moves and the spirit of youth.

Sidibe's exhibition will show at agnes b. in New York from April 14 to June 3.

Check out some of the photos below. Does this change your perception of Mali?