Sammy Baloji was born in 1978 in Lubumbashi, in the mineral-rich Katanga province of the 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 the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and continued with photography and video at the École Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, in Strasbourg, France. Raised in Lubumbashi, Sammy Baloji was sensitised to the colonial history and the post-colonial decline of the once prosperous mining region of the DRC, which Chinese companies exploit today. Baloji juxtaposes photographic realities, combining past and present, the real and the ideal, to elicit 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 numerous solo exhibitions, including at the Musée du quai Branly, Paris; Mu.ZEE, Ostend, Belgium; Royal Museum for Central Africa, Tervuren, Belgium; and Museum for African Art, New York. Sammy Baloji is currently featured in documenta 14, Kassel, Germany, and Athens, Greece, directed by Adam Szymczyk and curated by Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung; All the World’s Futures, curated by Okwui Enwezor, at the 56th Venice Biennale, and Personne et les autres, curated by Katrina Gregos, in the exhibition for the Belgian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. He was also featured in 2015 in Africa at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark, Beauté Congo at the Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain, Paris, and Tech4Change, curated by Mari F. Sundet, at the Vestfossen Kunstlaboratorium, Norway. He has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2015 Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship and 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 Biennale in Bamako, Mali.