Online Symposium: Spectres of History
Thursday, May 26 | 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Free | Online | For more information and to register, click here >
Dawit L. Petros’ exhibition Prospetto a Mare (Prospectus to sea) speaks to how both mobility and colonization have informed diasporic experiences and stories of migrancy. Referencing archival materials such as photographs, journals, and other publications, the artist has created an interwoven body of work in photography, video, and printmaking that explores a complicated history that is little-known in the West – Italy’s occupation colonization of East Africa, including Petros’ country of origin, Eritrea – as well as its postcolonial and transnational legacies.
With the 1933 transatlantic flight of twenty-four seaplanes from Italy to the United States deployed by Mussolini as the motif around which Prospetto a Mare is centred, the artist alludes to the ways in which the mythologizing of notions of progress, inherent to Eurocentric narratives of modernity, obscure the often detrimental effects on those who are located in the Global South. Connecting past to present, the exhibition also points to the diverse and yet quite cohesive ways that landscapes today remain entwined within this politics of space with its unstable, asymmetrical assertions of power.
Organized by the Art Gallery of Guelph, Spectres of History is a one-day symposium that will feature artists, curators, writers, and historians who will take up the propositions offered by Petros’ installation. Probing themes of migration, the archive, knowledge production, labour, and technology that are intertwined within Petros’ work, speakers will address the cultural and historical matrices that result from the pursuit of empire, the ways in which actions of the past re-emerge in the present, as well as offering ways of thinking through and beyond them.
Presented by the Art Gallery of Guelph with the support of the Arts Across Canada program of the Canada Council for the Arts.
Image details: Dawit L. Petros, Spectre (Floating Dock) (detail), 2021, archival pigment prints, CNC router etching, and smoked gray Plexiglass