Sammy Baloji | The Album



Baloji’s Album collides recent and distant events in the eastern Congo (DRC). Baloji employs an album that Belgian Commander Henri Pauwels compiled during his 1911-13 expedition to collect animal specimens for his national “natural history” museum in Tervuren, Belgium. Baloji inserts his own recent photographs from the same sites, as well as photographs taken by Chrispin Mvano, a journalist who recorded the ravages of war in eastern Congo, where the world’s deadliest conflict since the Second World War has caused 5.4 million deaths and displaced two million people. The Album collages two kinds of systematic killing: that of animals and that of people – different, yet linked through the legacy of colonialism, suggesting that the West is more interested in “nature” than in humanity.