Raised in Lubumbashi, Baloji was sensitized to the colonial history and the postcolonial decline of the once-prosperous mining region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, which Chinese companies exploit today. Baloji juxtaposes photographic realities, combining past and present, the real and the ideal, to illicit glaring cultural and historical tensions. He explores architecture and the human body as archives of social history and vestiges of memory.
Baloji has had solo exhibitions at Musée du quai Branly, Paris, France; Mu.ZEE in Ostend, Belgium; and Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren, Belgium, among others. Widely collected, Baloji has featured in numerous group exhibitions worldwide, most recently selected for presentation at the 56th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale in Italy, in 2015. He received the 2014 Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative award, partnering with Olafur Eliasson. A Prix Pictet finalist in 2009, he received the Prince Claus Award in 2008, and two awards at Bamako Encounters, Biennale of African Photography in Bamako, Mali, in 2007.