SMFA grad Petros’s careful observations of sites across the globe inspire his photo installations and sculpture
Part of an annual series of MFA exhibitions focusing on SMFA graduates of the past decade whose work has achieved international acclaim, “Dawit L. Petros: Sense of Place” features the photographs, video art, and sculpture of this 2007 SMFA Masters degree recipient.
Petros was born in 1972 in Eritrea, Africa; the protracted Eritrean-Ethiopean conflict led his family to move internationally several times. Petros’s experiences as an immigrant, vagabond, intrepid explorer, and an outsider inform his practice. His careful observations of sites across the globe inspire his work, which strives to capture each city’s essence—its sense of place. One way he comes to understand new locations is by walking within or along their borders. He documents patterns and pops of color from Harlem to Addis Ababa, and these become his medium as, back in the studio, he prints the abstract images to form mural-sized photo installations. In related works the artist himself often appears, as in the diptych Colorscape, Coordinate #23, Ethiopia (2013). Petros also creates sculptures, based on simple carts used in Africa. The exhibition premieres several new works, including photographs and a video made in four Boston neighborhoods.
Above: Dawit L. Petros, Colorscape, Coordinate #23, Ethiopia, 2013. Archival digital prints.