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Kader Keita Essays

Personal information
Full nameAbdel-Kader Keïta
Date of birth(1981-08-06) 6 August 1981 (age 36)
Place of birthAbidjan, Ivory Coast
Height1.84 m (6 ft 0 in)
Playing positionForward
Youth career
1998–1999Africa Sports
Senior career*
1999–2000Africa Sports23(4)
2000–2001Étoile du Sahel22(7)
2002Al Ain19(6)
2014–2015Budapest Honvéd2(0)
2015Persib Bandung0(0)
National team
2000–2012Ivory Coast72(11)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 22 March 2015.

Abdel-Kader Keïta (born 6 August 1981) is an Ivorian professional football player who played as a winger. Keïta represented the Ivory Coast national football team from 2000 to 2012.

Like the Touré brothers, the Kalou brothers, and the Koné brothers, Keïta is also part of a footballing family. He has an older brother called Fadel Keïta, who is a former Ivorian international.

Club career[edit]

Keïta, also known as 'Popito', began his career at homeland club Africa Sports, before moving on to Tunisian Club Etoile du Sahel. Following spells in United Arab Emirates with Al Ain and Qatar with Al Sadd, he moved to France with Ligue 1 club OSC Lille in 2005.

Olympique Lyon[edit]

On 31 May 2007, Lyon chairman Jean-Michel Aulas revealed that the club had made bids for both Keïta and his fellow club-mate Mathieu Bodmer.[1]

On 16 June 2007, Lyon confirmed the signing of Keïta from Lille for €18 million, with Bodmer also moving to Lyon.[2] During his two seasons at the club, he made 52 appearances in all competitions, scoring 5 goals.[3]


On 2 July 2009, Galatasaray officially announced that Keïta joined the Turkish club and signed a three-year contract, for €8.5 million transfer fee plus €500,000 variable.[4] He scored his first goal for Galatasaray in a Europa League qualification match against Maccabi Netanya in the 5th minute. On 12 December, Keïta scored for Galatasaray in a 3–2 victory over Antalyaspor.

On 18 February 2010, Keïta scored a late equalizer to secure a 1–1 away draw for Galatasaray against Atlético Madrid in the Europa League. Later, in the second leg he equalized again to make it 1–1, but Galatasaray failed to qualify. On 28 February, he scored the second and fourth goals in a 4–1 victory over Kasımpaşa. His first goal was a volley from just inside the penalty area. In Galatasaray's 3–0 victory over MKE Ankaragücü in March, Keïta scored the second goal as well as assisting the final goal. On 11 April 2010, he assisted two of Milan Baroš' goals in a 4–1 victory over Diyarbakırspor. A week later he scored the first goal in a 1–2 victory over Manisaspor.

Al Sadd[edit]

Keïta rejoined his previous club Al Sadd SC in July 2010 for €8.15 million.[5]

Keïta was involved in a melee which ensued on 19 October in the 2011 AFC Champions League semi final first-leg between Suwon Samsung Bluewings and Al Sadd. Suwon player Choi Sung-Hwan was inadvertently kicked in the head by an Al Sadd defender, and Suwon's Yeom Ki-hoon let the ball out after Choi Sung-hwan went down with a head injury inside Al Sadd's box. While Choi was being tended to by medics, Keïta took the free kick quickly, and passed it to teammate Mamadou Niang unknowingly to the Suwon defense who thought possession would be returned to them according to FIFA fair play rules. Niang sprinted down the center half past the goalkeeper to score a second goal for Al Sadd. The chaos was further elevated when a Suwon fan ran onto the pitch, causing a brawl to erupt between the two teams. Afterwards, Keïta received a red card, allegedly for running towards the fan, slapping him in the back of the head and grabbing him by his throat.[6] His teammate Lee Jung-Soo had told the press that Keïta had apologized for assisting Niang in scoring the goal, and admitted it was wrong. Al Sadd's coach, Jorge Fossati, suggested that Al Sadd was annoyed that Suwon had not immediately put the ball out of play, and decided to take actions into their own hands.[7] Keïta was later suspended by AFC for the return leg.

Keïta scored a goal in the AFC Champions League Final on 5 November, as his side defeated Jeonbuk Motors on penalties after the match ended 2–2 and was named as Man of the Match.[8] He left the team at the end of the 2011–12 season, and was linked with several teams in England and stated his interest of playing in the Premier League.[9]

International career[edit]

Keïta had a distinguished international career with 72 caps for the Ivory Coast, representing the team at the 2006 FIFA World Cup, 2010 FIFA World Cup and at four Africa Cup of Nations in 2002, 2008, 2010, and 2012, helping them finish runner-up in 2012.

Keïta was selected for 2010 African Nations Cup and played three matches, scoring once against Algeria during the quarter-final match.

2010 World Cup incident[edit]

During the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, Keïta was involved in an off-the-ball incident with Kaká during a group game against Brazil. Keïta ran into Kaká and fell onto the floor, clutching his face, as if in great pain. Kaká was shown a yellow card, his second of the match, and sent off. ABC wrote "Abdul Kader Keïta's embarrassing reaction to a love-tap in the midriff from the Brazilian playmaker was both laughable and disgraceful. Obviously hoping to get Kaka in further hot water after he had only just earlier been shown his first yellow card, Keïta fell to the ground and clutched his face as if he'd been shot from close range. He blatantly cheated to ensure the Brazilian was given his marching orders."[10]

The incident has been named by numerous journalists as among the most shameful in the World Cup and was called "disgraceful" by the sports announcer,"[11] and Keita's actions named in the ten worst moments of the World Cup.[12] Keita was named to the 2010 World Cup "Infamous 11" as one of the all-around worst sportsmen in the tournament.[13]


Africa Sports
Al-Ain FC
Al-Sadd Sports Club
Olympique Lyonnais


External links[edit]

Keïta (left) during a Qatari league match.

I turned the photograph over. "Keïta Seydou, Photographe Bamako -- Contra en face prison civile Bamako (Sudan Français)". And then a date: "3 Avr 1959."

I was confused. This photograph was nothing like the colossal high-contrast portraits that I had seen at the gallery. But this, Ibrahim explained, was an original. This was what Mr. Keïta's modest photography studio made. I was later told that there were only a handful of such prints. (I bought it for several hundred dollars and went on to buy other prints; they are no longer a part of my collection.)

The story of this discrepancy -- how a pocket-size print, sold for a few dollars in a neighborhood shop in West Africa, became a wall-size photograph that sold for $16,000 in an upscale SoHo gallery -- begins in colonial Mali in the 1930's and continues into the future: a new show of Mr. Keïta's work opens at the Sean Kelly Gallery in Chelsea on Friday.

It is a story that includes screaming fights, a lawsuit and charges of theft, forgery and perjury. It survives the photographer himself, who died in 2001. And it touches on the broadest channels of human history, from colonialism to capitalism to revolution to race. But it also involves a conflict of the most rarefied sort -- a philosophical disagreement over the nature of photography and the concept of authenticity.

IN the 1930's, Seydou Keïta, who was then young, uneducated and working in his father's carpentry shop, received a Brownie camera (producing a 6-by-9-centimeter negative) from his uncle. In 1948, Mr. Keïta (pronounced kay-EE-tah) set up a commercial studio in downtown Bamako, across from the city's prison and down the street from the train station. He was poor, so he made prints, using a 5-by-7-inch view camera, by placing the negative directly against the photographic paper, used his bed sheet as a backdrop, and photographed outdoors using available light.

Despite this, his portraits were a success.

Unlike his predecessors, who had photographed Africans to encourage missionary work or justify colonization, or as erotica, Mr. Keïta made photographs of Africans for their own personal use, and he revealed them as they had not been seen before: wearing Western suits and bow ties (his own), sitting on motorbikes or holding radios, or cradling a single flower, a reference to the Symbolists taught in Mali's French schools. For the others, it was a mixture of Western dress and African poses, African dress and Western poses -- people defining themselves at the uneven edge of modernity.

Okwui Enwezor, a scholar of photography and curator of a 1996 exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum that included Mr. Keïta's work, maintained that in the amount of information he conveys about his middle-class subjects, in the controlled complexity of the portraits and the high level of quality maintained over a great volume, his work is "comparable to the portraiture of Rembrandt." What makes this all the more astounding, he added, is that Mr. Keïta was "working outside any aesthetic discourse" -- that is, he was uneducated in the history of art and photography. Mr. Keïta claimed that when he set up his studio, there were only four other studio photographers in Mali.

Following that nation's independence in 1960, he was told to close his studio and work for the government. When he resisted, he once recounted, a general visited his studio. Mr. Keïta closed up shop, locking his roughly 7,000 negatives in a tin and burying them in his yard.

Fifteen years later, near the day when he retired from government, someone broke into his studio and stole his photography equipment. To support himself, he began to fix mopeds, converting his studio into a repair shop.

It was there, in 1990, that he met Françoise Huguier, a French photojournalist. Ms. Huguier arranged for a small number of Mr. Keïta's photographs to be exhibited outside of Africa, where they came to the attention of Jean Pigozzi, heir to the Simca car fortune and one of the world's pre-eminent collectors of contemporary African art. In 1992 Mr. Pigozzi sent André Magnin, the curator of Mr. Pigozzi's African collection, to Bamako to find the photographer, and Mr. Magnin returned with 921 negatives.

He made prints from those negatives, which appeared a couple of years later at an exhibition at the Fondation Cartier in Paris and then in 1997 at a solo show at the Scalo Gallery in Zurich, accompanied by a book called "Seydou Keïta: An African Photographer." Walter Keller, curator of the Scalo show and editor of the book, said the prints at both those shows were 20 by 24 inches -- bigger than the originals (5 by 7 inches) but not yet enormous. By the time the new prints reached the Gagosian exhibition four months later, some had grown to 48 by 60 inches.

Mr. Magnin sold the prints he made to Mr. Pigozzi and to other collectors, galleries and museums. Mr. Enwezor credits him with bringing Mr. Keïta to the attention of the world.

Mr. Keïta, however, was not pleased. Jean-Marc Patras, a well-known agent for African artists and musicians, said that Mr. Keïta believed that Mr. Magnin was making unauthorized prints and signing them. "I absolutely deny these accusations," Mr. Magnin said. "Seydou Keïta was involved in every decision, was aware of every print made, and signed every print that has his signature. We were also very careful about giving him an accounting of the money that we received for the prints."

Mr. Pigozzi said on Tuesday that without André Magnin's and his efforts, Mr. Keïta "would have been totally forgotten." They published an important book, he continued, and got his work into the collections of major museums. "Also with our help, Keïta was able to finally make a lot of money by selling his prints in a very orderly way," Mr. Pigozzi said, adding that Mr. Patras, however, had managed to make a mess of things.

At the time of the Gagosian show, Mr. Keïta met with Sean Kelly of the Sean Kelly Gallery in New York. "Keïta," he said, "was not pleased with what Pigozzi and Magnin were doing with his photographs, which is why Keïta approached me." But it wasn't until 2001 that the photographer severed his ties with them.

A relative of Mr. Keïta, Kader Keïta, a former diplomat who was present for a meeting between Mr. Keïta and Mr. Magnin, said: "Seydou was furious about the possibility that Magnin was forging Seydou's signature. Seydou also wanted the negatives back." He assigned the exclusive rights to sell his photographs to Mr. Patras. The negatives were not returned. Mr. Patras went to work on an exhibition of Mr. Keïta's photographs at the Sean Kelly Gallery. Weeks before the exhibition was scheduled to open in 2001, Mr. Keïta flew to Paris to confront Mr. Magnin, Mr. Patras says. But within days of his arrival, Mr. Keïta was dead at around 80.

TWO weeks later, Mr. Keïta's work went up at Sean Kelly. Just before the opening, Mr. Kelly says, Mr. Pigozzi, a large man, charged through the gallery. "What do you think you're doing!," Mr. Kelly recalls him shouting, albeit it in more pungent language. "I own Seydou Keïta."

After bringing in a third party to witness the outburst, Mr. Kelly, a large-chested former rugby player, who said he "was not about to be intimidated by Pigozzi," threw him out.

A month earlier, Mr. Patras and others had set up the Association Seydou Keïta in Bamako to preserve the negatives that were still in Mr. Keïta's possession and to oversee and approve the printing of all future photographs. Mr. Keïta and the association, working with Mr. Kelly, decided that all new prints would be made in limited editions, with no edition greater than 15 and some as small as 3. These prints, certified by the association, are the basis for the new show.

As for the 921 other negatives, Mr. Magnin says they are no longer in his possession. He said he gave the negatives to Lancina Keïta, one of Mr. Keïta's brothers, at the photographer's funeral. Lancina Keïta has refused to coment.

In July 2004, the association filed a lawsuit in Paris against Mr. Pigozzi and Mr. Magnin. That litigation is in the discovery phase. Julie Jacob, the French lawyer who is representing the association, contends that "Magnin and Pigozzi are causing the negatives to be moved between individuals, some of whom are members of Keïta's family, so as to avoid having to turn them over to the association." Mr. Kelly said he feared that the negatives might be lost altogether.

The controversy presents a difficulty for those who buy and sell prints made from Mr. Keïta's negatives. Barbara Wilhelm at the Gagosian Gallery said that "because it is difficult to tell which of Keïta's prints were signed by Keïta or signed by someone else with or without Keïta's authorization, each print must be dealt with on a case-by-case basis."

"From the fact that Keïta attended the show at Gagosian and voiced no complaints about the prints," she said, she is "satisfied that the signatures on the prints that were exhibited that evening were legitimate."

Mr. Keller, who organized the 1997 show in Switzerland, recommends that "signatures on Keïta's prints should be checked against those signatures that are known to be authentic."

As for Mr. Kelly, he said he "would never buy a Keïta photograph that was produced by Magnin and Pigozzi." He added, "You don't know how many are out there, you don't know if Keïta authorized the prints and you can't be sure of the signature."

At the coming exhibition, the largest photographs (60 by 48 inches) will be offered in limited editions of three for $18,000 to $22,000, not much above the price at Gagosian eight years ago. Over the same period, some other celebrated photographers' work has quadrupled in price.

But for all the controversy that now surrounds Mr. Keïta, Mr. Kelly seems surprised that there hasn't been more. "If you take this story and substitute the name of Bresson for Keïta, the world would be in an uproar," he said. "So far few have paid attention."

There are many reasons why posterity might regard Cartier-Bresson and Mr. Keïta differently: Cartier-Bresson was white, French and received important European commissions early in his career, whereas Mr. Keïta was a self-taught black African of modest ambitions for whom photography was, most of all, a job. Still, Brian Wallis, the director of exhibitions and chief curator of the International Center of Photography, describes the issue of what to do with new prints from the negatives of any deceased photographer as "one of the most vexing in photography." Sandra Phillips, senior curator of photography at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, pointed out that earlier photographers barely noticed how their work was printed. "It was the image, not the print, that was all important," she said. "Photographers would literally drop their negatives off at magazines or museums and let the editors and curators decide how the photographs were to be developed."

Julia Scully, the former editor of Modern Photography, said that "the idea that the vintage or limited-edition print is of special value has been promoted by collectors and gallery owners, who, having witnessed the recent increase in the market value of photography, seek to protect their investments. When it comes to photography, authenticity is artificial."

As a photograph (or any other work of art) is separated in time from the cultural context in which it originated, the work becomes open to new meanings. This idea, perhaps first articulated in Walter Benjamin's landmark 1931 essay, "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction," has been embraced by many curators in recent years, leading them away from what Mr. Wallis refers to as the "fetish for the vintage." Instead curators are more open to the new meanings that may emerge from manipulating the originals, even if those meanings are different from -- or in direct contrast to -- anything the artist had in mind.

The result is ripe with possibilities, but also with contradictions. It is now not uncommon for galleries to put on shows that reflect this postmodern approach but at the same time to charge higher prices for original works.

In the case of Mr. Keïta, the original photographs were taken at a significant moment in West African history, amid a great migration from rural to urban areas. His customers, said Mr. Enwezor, were part of that shift: newly arrived in the city, they would mail photographs to relatives who were still in the countryside. The prints were a type of private correspondence. As the formal elements of the photograph -- its dimensions, its contrasts and densities -- are manipulated, this history of the image, as contained within the photograph, begins to evaporate.

There is, though, another argument, based in the technology of photography, that undermines the concept of photographic authenticity. Charles Griffin, who prints the photographs of Cindy Sherman and Hiroshi Sugimoto, observes that the resolution of photographic negatives is far greater than that of the prints made from them. The negatives, you might say, contain a far greater amount of information than can be shown, placing those who make prints in the position of having to select and suppress the information that will ultimately appear.

And the printer's responsibility in this regard, Mr. Griffin added, has been heightened by the decision of paper companies to reduce the silver content in, and therefore the sensitivity of, photographic papers.

As a result, artists, museums and galleries treat printers in the same way that writers treat good editors, trusting them to add and subtract material from a manuscript to achieve the best result. It was to Mr. Griffin that Mr. Kelly turned when he took over the representation of Seydou Keïta. Because of the respect that the dealer and the association have for Mr. Griffin's work, they have given him great license over the way in which Mr. Keïta's photographs are printed.

Mr. Griffin said that when he attended the 1997 exhibition at the Gagosian Gallery, he was immediately disturbed by a number of factors, especially the extent of the contrast between the blacks and the whites. "Too often," he says, "printers are influenced by the preference wealthy collectors have for highly graphic images." When he was asked later to make prints from Mr. Keïta's negatives, he made a number of important changes, including the decision to "give more emphasis to the ground between the blacks and whites." He has yet to see a vintage photograph of Mr. Keïta's.

Mr. Griffin's observation about the influence of collectors contains a paradox: however much scholars talk about alternative modes of interpretation, the dominant force in the current market is one which makes many re-interpretations look a great deal like the cover of Cosmopolitan -- a result that is probably not what Walter Benjamin had in mind.

In the end, the debate over how to make prints from Mr. Keïta's negatives may soon be academic. As a result of the litigation to recover the 921 negatives from Mr. Magnin and Mr. Pigozzi, the association has little money left to preserve those negatives that are in its possession -- negatives which, according to Mr. Griffin, are quickly deteriorating. In the end, the controversial prints may be all that is left of Seydou Keïta. And at that point, the postmodern will have become the authentic.

PHOTOGRAPHY Michael Rips is the author of two books, "The Face of a Naked Lady: An Omaha Family Mystery," and "Pasquale's Nose: Idle Days in an Italian Town."

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