Dawit L. Petros & Maaza Mengiste in Conversation
April 14 @ 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
UB Art Galleries, in collaboration with the English Department’s Exhibit X Fiction Series, presents a dynamic conversation between visual artist Dawit L. Petros and novelist Maaza Mengiste. Since 2014, Petros and Mengiste have been in dialog as peers with mutual research interest in Italian colonialism in East Africa. Their long-term investigations on Italian occupation of their native countries have culminated in Mengiste’s 2019 novel The Shadow King and Petros’s exhibition Spazio Disponibile, currently on view at UB Anderson Gallery. For the conversation, the pair will explore present-day legacies of Italian colonialism as well as their overlapping interest in photography as an imperfect vessel of history. Informal in tone, each speaker will introduce their work before diving into a conversation about intersecting research, thoughts on the archive, contemporary politics of East Africa and Italy, as well as the minutiae of their artistic media.
This program is supported by UB Humanities Institute.
Maaza Mengiste (born 1971, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) is the author of The Shadow King, shortlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize, a LA Times Books Prize finalist, and a Best Book of 2019 by New York Times, NPR, Time, Elle, and other publications. Beneath the Lion’s Gaze, her debut, was selected by the Guardian as one of the 10 best contemporary African books.
Dawit L. Petros (born 1972, Asmara, Eritrea) lives and works in Chicago and Montreal. He received his MFA in Visual Art from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts/Tufts University, Boston; a BFA in Photography from Concordia University, Montreal; a BFA in History from the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon; and completed the Whitney Independent Study Program, New York. Recent exhibitions have been held at the 13th Havana Biennial, Matanzas, Cuba (2019); Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca (2019); Bamako Encounters Biennale, Mali (2017); Dakar Biennale, Senegal (2018); Prospect.4, New Orleans (2017); and the Walther Collection Project Space, New York (2016). Petros is an assistant professor at the Department of Photography, School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Left to right: Dawit L. Petros, photo by Josée Pedneault; Maaza Mengiste, photo by Nina Subin.