Sammy Baloji: Research on the Soviet influence in Congo


Artist Sammy Baloji is interested in exploring the Belgian Congo's transition to the Democratic Republic of the Congo; the later formation of Mobutu Sese Seko's dictatorship; and the role of Patrice Lumumba in the country's independence.

His focus will not be solely on the politics of the Cold War, as he is mainly interested in exploring his native country's culture and way of life during Zairianization—the official state ideology of the Mobutu regime. 

Baloji will aim to examine the influence of communism on Congolese culture, explore the development of local artistic practices during that three-decade period, and analyze the resemblance of Mobutu's regime and policies to communist methods of ruling. At the beginning of 2017, Baloji plans to come to Moscow where he will visit the Moscow Institute of African Studies (the creation of which was proposed to Nikita Khrushev by W.E.B Du Bois in 1959); as well as meet with the Congolese community to explore its local narrative and little-known histories.

Field Research: Liberating Knowledge. Progress Report II 

Deadline: 2016-2018

Researcher: Sammy Baloji

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