Daily Archives: April 29, 2022

Report of the Presidential Committee on Harvard & the Legacy of Slavery | Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University


Harvard’s motto, Veritas, inscribed on gates, doorways, and sculptures all over campus, demands of us truth.

La storia del Regno del Congo a Palazzo Pitti attraverso le installazioni di Sammy Baloji | Le Gallerie degli Uffizi

From 26 April in the Andito degli Angiolini the first exhibition in Italy of a protagonist of contemporary art: Congolese historical objects from the Florentine collections and other museums interact with the artist’s works in a site-specific exhibition

From 26 April the Andito degli Angiolini of Palazzo Pitti will host K(C)ongo, Fragments of Interlaced Dialogues. Subversive Classifications, Sammy Baloji’s first solo exhibition in Italy . The exhibition project, curated by Lucrezia Cippitelli, Chiara Toti and the BHMF collective, is the culmination of a research started by the artist starting from 2016 in the collections of various museums around the world, including the Medici palace. In the exhibition – enriched by the production of two new site-specific works for the rooms of the Andito degli Angiolini, Palazzo Pitti –motifs and narratives intertwined derived from objects that came from the Kongo Kingdoms (today’s Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of Congo and Angola) from the sixteenth century, now housed in Palazzo Pitti and in various museums.

In fact, the artist’s works interact with archive material and important works from Kongo on loan from the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnology in Florence and the Museum of Civilizations in Rome as well as from the Uffizi Galleries .

Fil rouge of the entire itinerary, which unfolds in seven rooms, is a carpet 88 meters long ( The Crossing ), produced and created for the rooms of the Andito degli Angiolini , whose decoration translates the geometric motifs and circular bands of four precious Kongo olifanti (inlaid ivory ceremonial trumpets) exceptionally gathered in the exhibition: three of them come from the Treasury of the Grand Dukes of Palazzo Pitti , one was on loan for the occasion from the Museum of Civilizations in Rome. These splendid objects, two of which have been present in the Medici collections since the sixteenth century, mark the arrival point of a journey thathall after hall highlights the complexity of the “intertwined dialogues” between Kongo, Renaissance Europe and Modern Europe .

With the immersive installation Gnosis , inspired by the Sala delle Carte Geografiche of Palazzo Vecchio, Sammy Baloji explores the concept of Wunderkammer (or room of wonders) framing the Renaissance collections of mirabilia and naturalia and the birth of modern Italian anthropological and ethnographic museums.

Some sculptures on loan from the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnology in Florence come from the colonial Congo and arrived in Italy at the beginning of the 20th century.

The letters of King Afonso I of Kongo to the Portuguese sovereign Manuel I, as well as the copper and bronze plaques of Baloji Negative of Luxury Cloth and the sculpture-loom Goods Trades Roots (in which the geometric motifs refer to the precious raffia fabrics, arrived in Italy between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries through the Portuguese merchants), speak of an equal and horizontal relationship between Europe and Africa, which overturns the “exotic” narrative which later became predominant.

The exhibition highlights a “subversive” profile of Kongo’s works , which surpass the modern “exotic” or “ethnographic” classifications, a legacy of the transatlantic slave trade and the Scramble for Africa (conquest of Africa) of the late nineteenth century, the whose implications conflict with contemporary cultural perception and values.

The exhibition closes during the hottest months of the year, and will therefore be open in two separate periods: from 26 April to 26 June and from 6 September to 27 November.

The artist Sammy Baloji: “I’m not interested in colonialism as nostalgia, or in it as a thing of the past, but in the continuation of that system”.

The director of the Uffizi Galleries Eike Schmidt : “ Historical research reveals that our perception of objects and works belonging to different cultures has been – and in many cases still is – vitiated in the negative sense. Sammy Baloji’s art, on the other hand, shows us a different path to take, through the discovery of the truth of the past and the recovery of horizontal relations between cultures: in this perspective, his works become political in the highest sense of the term “.

Sammy Baloji

Sammy Baloji lives and works between Lubumbashi and Brussels. His journey, which began in 2005 with the photographic documentation of the modern buildings of his city, has also developed as a research and visual production together with Picha, a collective of artists and culture professionals with whom he founded the Lubumbashi Biennale and the center in 2008. Picha art. His work explores the memory and history of the Democratic Republic of Congo in relation to global history, bringing out in the dense network of relationships a complexity that deeply touches and revises modern European history. Starting from research on the cultural, architectural and industrial heritage of the Katanga region, Baloji’s work reinterprets the impact of colonization, highlighting how, from the contemporary perspective of colonial narratives, the economic imperialism of our present pervades the imagination and strengthens the power relations. His critical vision embraces the first relations between Africa and Europe in the fifteenth century and shows us how the cultural clichés that formed and shaped collective memories continue to play a central role in today’s perception of the world. Appointed

Knight of Arts and Letters in France, he has received numerous scholarships, prizes and awards, in particular at the Rencontres africaines de photographie de Bamako and at the Dakar Biennial. He was the winner of the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. In 2019-2020, he was a resident of the French Academy in Rome-Villa Medici. Since 2018 he has been teaching at the Sommerakademie in Salzburg. He has exhibited in important museums, galleries and exhibitions around the world including: Beaux-Arts de Paris (2021); Sydney Biennial (2020); Documenta 14 (Kassel / Athens, 2017); Biennial of Lyon (2015); Venice Biennale (2015); Photoquai Festival at the Musée du Quai Branly (2015). In 2020, he was included in the Power 100, the ranking of the “most influential personalities in the art world” by the British magazine ArtReview.


Sammy Baloji. K(C)ongo, Fragments of Interlaced Dialogues. Subversive Classifications

Palazzo Pitti, Andito degli Angiolini
From 26 April to 26 June and from 6 September to 27 November 2022

Curators: Lucrezia Cippitelli, Chiara Toti, curatorial collective BHMF
Exhibition created in collaboration with: The Recovery Plan, Twenty Nine Studio & Production
Thanks: Arthub, Féderation Wallonie-Bruxelles, Flanders State of the Art, Galerie Imane Farès, Numeroventi, Rolex Foundation, TBA21, Vimar1991, Traumnovelle

Original map images reproduced from the Afriterra Foundation, with permission of Dr. Gerald Rizzo, President.

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See also:

and for African history more broadly see related:


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