AfricAvenir, in cooperation with the Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation, presents the photo exhibition “Mémoire“ by the award-winning and internationally celebrated Congolese artist Sammy Baloji. Its opening takes place on Friday, 11th October 2013 at 6 pm introduced by Merin Abbas (Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation) and Alanna Lockward (Art Labour Archives).
In his series of photographs entitled „Mémoire”, Sammy Baloji links black and white photographs from Belgian colonial times with contemporary pictures of the mining town Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo. A colonial past with slavery and exploitative hierarchies meets fallow industrial ruins and tips. The large-sized photo-montages distinctly connect the colonial past with post-colonial exploitation, an exploitation of humans and resources on which the so-called “progress” of Western technologies is based.
„Mémoire“ shows the heritage of colonial times – for society, politics, and the environment – and at the same time points towards the huge economical gain colonial masters had from the mines. “Mémoire” calls upon us to rethink the consequences of the « development » of resource extraction areas and emphasizes the rights of the affected communities to freely dispose of their wealth of resources.
Sammy Baloji about „Mémoire“
“My previous works were dedicated to colonial architecture. To some extent, my current works have a direct connection with the colonial past, which gave birth to the cities of Katanga province. These cities were built upon mines. The latter belong to Katanga’s history. The essence of my question lies in the daily life of Congolese people. They are traces of the recent past, which is also present.”
Sammy Baloji was born 1978 in Lubumbashi in the resource rich province Katanga in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
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. Today he lives and works in Lumumbashi and Brussels.
Baloji created several works about the culture of the Katanga region and the colonial heritage in DRC. He views architecture and the human body as traces of social history, sites of memory, and witnesses to operations of power.
Balojis work is displayed worldwide in Africa, Europe, Japan and USA and shows a diverse and expressive picture of Congolese realities. His works encourage social awareness and stimulate artistic creation in the region of Katanga. He is, amongst others, the initiator of the Biennale “PICHA” which takes place in Lumumbashi since 2008.
Vernissage: Friday, 11th October, 6 pm
Registration until 07.10.2013 under firstname.lastname@example.org
The exhibition will be open, as part of the „Week on Alternative Resources” , from Mo, 14th October until Thurs, 24th October 2013, Monday to Friday, 9 am to 7 pm.
Berliner Haus 1