Sammy Baloji


Democratic Republic of Congo

Born in 1978 in Lubumbashi, Katanga Province, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sammy Baloji is a member of the Lubumbashi Vicanos club. The holder of two BA degrees, he showed initial interest in comic books, then in photography and video. He has produced various documentaries on Katanga culture and on the architectural heritage of the colonial era in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Allers et retours

2008 Photographic Residencies

Using both video and photos, Sammy Baloji went in search of vestiges of the Kongo culture in Africa (Democratic Republic of Congo and Congo Brazzaville), France and Belgium.He creates a comparison between past and present, between the memory of slavery and its resurgence or permanence in the societies of the former colonisers. Through evocations of the memory of slavery, the stories of the ships that transported slaves, the artist has chosen the ‘Congo Minuet’, a dance discovered in 2007 in the region around Nantes, as the central theme.

By questioning ethnomusicologists, photographing the prows of ships at the musée de la Marine, the reserve collections of the AfricaMuseum in Tervuen, exploring the collection of the musée du quai Branly, and filming French folk groups dancing the Congo Minuet, Sammy Baloji takes a journey back in time tracing the word Congo combined with dance. In the end, the work produced for the Photoquai Residencies, of which he was a laureate in 2008, consists of a wall of 6 images and an accompanying video. The photographic images show pictures of the skull of Congolese chief Lusinga, brought back as a trophy during the Belgian colonial conquest. The film uses a diptych of shorelines, open sea and a few moments of Congo Minuet dance.

Series produced in 2008.

Sammy Baloji : Allers-Retours