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Sammy Baloji
Lubumbashi et Bruxelles
RD Congo et Blegique
Rolex/Nick Harvey

Lieu d’exposition
/ Exhibition place

Centre de commerce mondial de Montréal Rez-de-chaussée / Ground Floor, œuvre / artwork n°6
photography | print


Sammy Baloji is an artist from Lubumbashi, the mineral-rich Katanga province of the Democratic Republic of Congo. His work juxtaposes archival materials with photography to show the violences of the colonial past and the ongoing exploitation by Chinese and Western countries in the region today. He pays particular attention to mineral relations and the ways colonial histories are written into the earth. His work has been widely exhibited, including solo exhibitions at Lund Konsthall and Aarhus Kunsthal, Framer Framed (Amsterdam), The Power Plant (Toronto), Open Society Foundation (New York) and Musée du quai Branly (Paris). Sammy Baloji’s work has also been included in the Sydney Biennale, Documenta 14, Lyon Biennale, and the Venice Biennale. He has received numerous prestigious awards and artist residencies. He is currently completing his Ph.D. at St. Lucas Antwerpen in Belgium.

Approach and works on display

Raccord #2, Usine de Shituru (2012) and Mine à ciel ouvert noyée de Banfora No. 2 (2012)

Photography arrived in the Democratic Republic of Congo through colonial expeditions. One of the questions that animates Sammy Baloji’s practice is how to create a new narrative with the same medium. Using archival images juxtaposed next to contemporary photographs, as in Raccord #2, Usine de Shituru (2012), he uncovers colonial violence. The image Mine à ciel ouvert noyée de Banfora No. 2, Lieu d’extraction minière artisanale 80X240,48 cm (2010) depicts the vast scale of artisanal mining in Katanga province, where mining has been and continues to be a source of ongoing conflict and violence, showing a continuum between the colonial and postcolonial practices of extraction. These documentary-style images show the vastness of the mining sites and the extremely precarious and dangerous conditions in which artisanal mining takes place. In each of these images, Sammy Baloji’s work foregrounds the ways that climate change and ecocide are directly linked to colonialism.


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