Born in Lubumbashi (Democratic Republic of Congo) and based in Belgium, Baloji (not to be confused with the photographer Sammy Baloji) is an award-winning musician, filmmaker, a polymath artist , he’s working as art director, costume designer for fashion and other visual art forms. Baloji name meaning refers to occult and evil forces. In Swahili, it initially meant "man of science," but in colonial times, it turned into "man of occult sciences/sorcerer". This assignment has influenced his entire work as a heavy burden to bear and, at the same time, as a driver for a playful and empirical approach, shaping his vision with an imaginary suspended between oneiric and magical realism, notably through a work on the mask and the symbolisms and its report of association of colors and sound caused by its synesthesia. As a filmmaker, Baloji released his first feature film AUGURE / OMEN (Cannes official selection 2023/ New Voice Award) accompanied by a four-part soundtrackwhere each record is written from the point of view of the main characters. The project is also accompanied by a traveling exhibition project featuring the costume designs and photos of his work. The film AUGURE follows several short films noticed in the circuit and distributed worldwide such as ZOMBIES (London FF, MUBI award, UKVMA,..). As a musician, Baloji has released two critically acclaimed albums and two EPs/the latest "Avenue Kaniama" on Bella Union Records.
Following Koffi’s return to his birthplace after he has been ostracized by his family, ‘Omen’ explores the weight of beliefs on one’s destiny through four characters accused of being witches and sorcerers, all of them intertwined and guiding each other into the phantasmagoria of Africa.
The soundtrack of the film AUGURE is made in 4 records written and composed from the point of view of the 4 main characters of the film. It is a complementary, a back-story of the characters and a musical piece in his own rights.
Photo © Kristin Lee Moolman