Since 2005, Sammy 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 allows him to manipulate time and space, comparing ancient colonial narratives with contemporary economic imperialism. His video works, installations and photographic series highlight how identities are shaped, transformed, perverted and reinvented. His critical view of contemporary societies is a warning about how cultural clichés continue to shape collective memories and thus allow social and political power games to continue to dictate human behaviour. As he stated in a recent interview: “I’m not interested in colonialism as nostalgia, or in it as a thing of the past, but in the continuation of that system.”

Sammy Baloji (b. 1978 in Lubumbashi, DR Congo) lives and works between Lubumbashi and Brussels. He started in September 2019 his PhD artistic research project “Contemporary Kasala and Lukasa: towards a Reconfiguration of Identity and Geopolitics” at Sint Lucas Antwerpen.

A Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres, he has received numerous fellowships, awards and distinctions, notably at the African Photography Encounters of Bamako and the Dakar Biennale, and was a laureate of the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. In 2019-2020, he was a resident of the French Academy of Rome – Villa Medici. Since 2018, he has been teaching at the Sommerakademie in Salzburg. Sammy Baloji co-founded in 2008 the Rencontres Picha/Biennale de Lubumbashi.