Kasala - The Slaughterhouse of Dreams or the First Human, Bende’s Error

Sammy Baloji

Biennale of Sydney

Biennale of Sydney
Sydney, Australia

Sammy Baloji’s work creates new narratives through a re-shaping of archival and contemporary images, often reflecting upon colonial legacies that resonate through the present. For this project he re-imagines and draws upon two pre-colonial cultural forms, the kasala and lukasa, to critically approach the imposition of identities during the colonial era. Both are mnemotechnical devices (memory devices), used by the Luba peoples to whom the artist belongs. The kasala, a form of praise poetry often chanted, here becomes a fictional narrative realised in performance and sculptural form. This allows a blending of historical and contemporary facts with the artists own genealogy to consider the mythological and political ‘genesis’ of the Luba peoples and the filiations of family and social relations that did not correspond to colonial logics.


  • Title: Kasala - The Slaughterhouse of Dreams or the First Human, Bende’s Error
  • Creator: Sammy Baloji
  • Date Created: 2019
  • Location Created: Cockatoo Island
  • Physical Dimensions: dimensions variable
  • Provenance: Presented at the 22nd Biennale of Sydney with assistance from the Flemish Ministry of Culture. Courtesy the artist and Galerie Imane Farès, Paris.
  • Type: installation
  • Rights: Biennale of Sydney
  • Medium: mixed media installation: Mirror with photo of Hans Himmelheber and X-ray tomograms of a power figure acquired by him; UV print on glass, brass frame. Hunting horn with Congolese scarifications by the coppersmith Guido Clabots, Dinant Belgium
  • Edition: 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020): NIRIN

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