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Sammy Baloji

Photography - Installation - Video/Film - New media

Since 2005, Baloji has been exploring the memory and history of the Democratic Republic of Congo. His work is an ongoing research on the cultural, architectural and industrial heritage of the Katanga region, as well as a questioning of the impact of Belgian colonization. His use of photographic archives allowed him to manipulate time and space, thus comparing ancient colonial narratives to contemporary economic imperialisms. His videos and series of photographs highlight how identities are shaped, transformed, perverted and reinvented. His critical view of contemporary societies are warnings about how cultural clichés continue to shape collective memories, allowing social and political power games to continue to dictate human behaviour.

A Knight of Arts and Letters, he has received numerous awards and distinctions, including the Prince Claus Prize, the Spiegel Prize for African Photography Meetings in Bamako and the Dakar Biennale and the Rolex Mentor et Protégé Arts Initiative. He is for the year 2019-2020 a resident of the Académie de France in Rome – Villa Médicis. Sammy Baloji is a co-founder of Picha Encounters, Lubumbashi Biennale.

Selected Artworks
Installation comprised of: a hunting horn with scarifications of the coppersmith Guido Clabots in Dinant, Belgium (copper), two mirrors with photos of Hans Himmelheber and X-ray topograms of a power figure acquired by him (UV print of glass, brass frame) and a reproduction of an archival photograph from the Royal Museum for Central Africa, Tervuren. Work commissioned by the Museum Rietberg Zürich for the exhibition Congo as Fiction © exhibition views: Museum Rietberg Zürich, photo: Rainer Wolfsberger
Installation comprised of: Chura na Nyoka (The Toad and the Snake), wood & canvas, Kasaian Paintings: reproduction of a selection of 138 portraits from Father Verbeek’s collection of popular paintings, digital prints on paper, Map of the Native City printed on Ekoplex wood with original writing in red. Installation photo: Sammy Baloji at Framer Framed, 2018. © Framer Framed / Eva Broekema
Installation comprised of: a black and white photograph installed in 4 trips of wallpaper, a copper engraving, a color photograph mounted as wallpaper, a vitrine containing 80 Katanga crosses with varying patination and 13 Katanga coins in 1 and 5 franc denominations and a HD Video, colour and sound (42 min.). Installation photo: Sammy Baloji at EMST-National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens/documenta 14. © Stathis Mamalakis
Installation comprised of: a wallpaper on canvas with patterns of scarifications, 36 hammered photographs, a set of post-war mortar shells, copper ceiling pieces with scarification patterns, a recording of a selected excerpt from Andre Yav’s book.
Installation comprised of The Album, a series of photographic collages and a sculpture in metal, and Hunting & Collecting, an artist’s book and series of photographs and archival photographs. Installation photo: Sammy Baloji at macLYON/Biennale de Lyon 2015. © Blaise Adilon
Installation comprised of a HD Video, colour and sound (70 min) and The Tower, 7th street, Quartier industriel, municipality of Limete. Kinshasa 2015, digital photograph on baryta Photo Rag 315g
Past Exhibitions