25.06.18 – 26.08.18 | A Blueprint for Toades and Snakes

Events / By ZAM Reporter

A solo exhibition by Sammy Baloji at Framer Framed, Amsterdam.

The exhibition features several new works by Sammy Baloji (DRC, 1978). Central to these new pieces is Chura na Nyoka (The Toad and the Snake), written by Joseph Kiwile, a Congolese born statesman who later served as minister in the Katanga Region. The play, which holds a metaphorical message of ethnic segregation, was commissioned by the Belgian colonial regime as an ‘educational tool’ for the population. Baloji relates Kiwele’s theatre script to the colonial urban planning of the ‘indigenous city’ of Lubumbashi, which was also structured according to a politics of segregation. Traces of this segregation are still visible today, for example in the shape of the ‘cordon sanitaire’, a buffer zone inscribed in the landscape meant to effectively separate the black and white population. It is also reflected in street names, which refer to different ethnic populations. In addition, the aftermath of this colonial segregation resonates in Congo’s contemporary society, which is rife with struggles and ethnic tensions, intensified by economic interests. Both are now used as input for the works of Baloji’s solo exhibition.

Also presented in the exhibition is Baloji’s Documenta 14 film Tales of the Copper Cross Garden Episode (2017) in which the processing of copper is visualised as a choreography of black workers’ bodies, as they transform raw material into a product for the global market.

Sammy Baloji lives and works in Brussels and Lubumbashi. He holds a bachelor degree in Literature and Social Sciences. Originally working as a cartoonist, Baloji began photographing scenes as sources of his cartoons with a borrowed camera. Baloji participated in amongst others the Bamako African Photography Encounters in 2007, the Biennales in Lyon (2015), Venice (2016) and Dakar (2016) and Documenta 14 in 2017. His works were on show in London, New York, Washington DC and Tervuren. He received several awards, including one from the Prince Claus Fund in the Netherlands.

More information on the website of Framer Framed.