Sammy Baloji

Born in 1978 in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo.

Sammy Baloji lives and works between Brussels and Lubumbashi. After studying computer science and information and communication sciences at the University of Lubumbashi, he joined the Ecole supérieure des arts décoratifs in Strasbourg, where he specialised in video art and photography. In 2008 he co-founded the Rencontres Picha/Biennale de Lubumbashi. Since 2019, he has been pursuing a research doctorate in art entitled "Contemporary Kasala and Lukasa: towards a Reconfiguration of Identity and Geopolitics" at Sint Lucas University in Antwerp and teaches at the Sommerakademie in Salzburg, Austria.

Sammy Baloji's practice and research focus on the history and memories of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), his native country, and by extension on questioning the legacy and impact of Belgian colonisation. He looks at this last theme of colonisation through the lens of how it is perpetuated in our contemporary societies, notably through economic imperialism and the use of cultural clichés. Bringing together archives, photographs, sculptures and videos, it highlights the relationship between human beings and their environment, drawing on ethnographic and urbanistic elements from the DRC.

Recent solo exhibitions include K(C)ongo, Fragments of Interlaced Dialogues at the Palazzo Pitti in Florence (2022) and the Beaux-Arts in Paris (2021), Sammy Baloji, Other Tales at the Lund Konsthall in Sweden and the Museum of Modern Art in Aarhus, Denmark (2020), Urban Now: City Life in Congo, Sammy Baloji and Filip de Boeck at WIELS in Brussels and The Power Plant in Toronto (2016-2017), or Hunting and Collecting at Mu.ZEE in Ostend (2014). His work has been presented at the 15th Sharjah Biennale (2023), the Sydney Biennale (2020), the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow (2017) and the Venice Biennale (2015). A Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres (France), he has received numerous awards, including the Prince Claus Prize (Netherlands), the Spiegel Prize at the Rencontres africaines de photographie in Bamako and the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. In 2019-2020, he was a resident at Villa Medici in Rome. His work can be found in the collections of the Tate Modern in London, the National Gallery of Canada and the Musée national de l'histoire de l'immigration in Paris.