Sammy Baloji (b. 1978, Democratic Republic of Congo; lives and works in Lubumbashi and Brussels.) Ethnography, architecture and urbanism stand out as the key thematic focuses of his current artistic practice, which brings together photography, video, and archival documents relating to colonial history. His reading of the Congolese past is a way of analyzing African identity today, through the prism of the different political systems that our society has experienced.
Recent solo exhibitions include: When Harmony Went to Hell – Congo Dialogues: Sammy Baloji and Alice Seeley Harris, Autograph ABP, London, Hunting and Collecting, MuZee, Ostend, 2014; Kolwezi, Koninklijke Vlaamse Schouwburg (KVS), Brussels, The Beautiful Time in Lubumbashi: Photography by Sammy Baloji, Museum for African Art, New York; Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C., 2012; Congo Far West, artists in residence Sammy Baloji and Patrick Mudekereza, Royal Museum of Africa, Tervuren, Brussels, 2011; The Beautiful Time in Katanga, Museum for African Art, New York, 2010.
Recent group exhibitions include: The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Hell, Purgatory Revisited by Contemporary African Artists, MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt am Main, Earth Matters: Land as Material and Metaphor in the Arts of Africa, Washington D.C; Fowler Museum at UCLA, Los Angeles; Present Tense, Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon-Paris, 2013; Newtopia: The State of Human Rights, Exhibition for the City of Mechelen, Distance and Desire: Encounters with the African Archive. Part II: Contemporary Reconfigurations, The Walther Collection Project Space, New York, 2012; Environment and Object in Recent African Art, Anderson Gallery, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA; Frances Young Tang Museum and Art Gallery, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY, USA, ARS 11, Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Helsinki, 2011. In 2009, Baloji was finalist for the Pictet Prize and won the prestigious Prince Claus Award. He recently also received the Rolex Mentors and Protégés Prize. In 2010 he founded the Picha (‘Image’ in Swahili) non-profit organization as part of a collective initiative, which organizes the Rencontres Picha Biennial in Lubumbashi and supports the development of local artistic practices.