Sammy Baloji was born in 1978 in Lubumbashi, in the Katanga province of Democratic Republic of Congo. He studied Computer and Information Sciences and Communication at the University of Lubumbashi. With a borrowed camera, he began photographing scenes as sources for his cartoons. He soon enrolled in photography courses in DRC, and continued with photography and video at Ecole Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, in Strasbourg, France. Baloji juxtaposes photographic realities, combining past and present, the real and the ideal, to illicit glaring cultural and historical tensions. He explores architecture and the human body as traces of social history, sites of memory, and witnesses to operations of power.
Baloji has had solo exhibitions at Musée du quad Branly (Paris), MuZee (Oostende), Royal Museum for Central Africa (Tervuren), WIELS (Brussels) and Museum for African Art (NY). Baloji has featured in numerous group exhibitions worldwide: Biennale de Lyon, Venice Biennale, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Foundation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain,… He has been the recipient of numerous awards including, the 2014 Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative award, partnering with Olafur Eliasson. He was nominated a Prix Pictet finalist in 2009, received the Prince Claus Award in 2008 and two awards at the 2007 African Photography Biennial in Bamako, Mali.