Sammy Baloji

* 1978, Lubumbashi, DRC. Lives and works in Lubumbashi, DRC.

Sammy Baloji was born in the mineral-rich Katanga province of Democratic Republic of Congo. He studied Computer and Information Sciences and Communication at the University of Lubumbashi. With a borrowed camera, he began photographing scenes as sources for his cartoons, the first type of artwork he produced. He soon enrolled in photography courses and thereafter took up video as well. Sammy Baloji views architecture and the human body as traces of social history, sites of memory, and witnesses to operations of power. He has exhibited very widely in Africa, Europe and the United States and is the recipient of numerous prizes, notably the prestigious Prince Claus award (2008).

 BALOJI Memoire

Mémoire / Democratic Republic of Congo / 2007 / 14’06 / 4:3

In the town of Lubumbashi, in the Katanga province of eastern Congo, stand the ruins of what was once a thriving copper mining industrial site. Against this backdrop, Sammy Baloji’s haunting images – part documentary, part dreamscape – meet the sinuous choreography of dancer Faustin Linyekula and a soundtrack of successive leaders (Patrice Lumumba and Joseph Kasa‐Vubu, Mobutu Sese Seko and Laurent‐Désiré Kabila) promising political and economic renewal. Masterfully woven together, these elements tell a history of colonial violence, followed by postcolonial hope and its gradual demise.