Art Fairs


5 - 14 May 2021 



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Artist and 2021 ScotiaBank Photography Award finalist, Dawit L. Petros presents a new body of work underlining the unexplored links between colonisation, migrations and modernism. Spazio Disponibile – Italian for 'Available Space’ – scrutinises historical gaps in European memory, particularly that of modern Italy.  These works form part of a solo international touring exhibition of the same name which opened at The Power Plant  in Toronto, Canada and ran from January to July 2020. 


Spazio Disponibile - alludes to vacant advertising sections that appeared in Rivista Coloniale, a widely circulated early 20th century magazine and the official organ of the Italian colonial project, the title is also a reference to the colonial gaze that viewed the lands of Africa as ‘available’ space to occupy and exploit.


Petros’s art reflects his research into the complex layers of colonial and postcolonial histories connecting East Africa and Europe. Employing archival materials collected over a period of seven years, documents that attest to the Italian presence in Ethiopia and Eritrea between the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Petros has developed an expansive suite of works that reflect on the lingering effects of colonial memory. Composed of a multimedia installation of serigraphs, photographs, sculptural works, a film and soundscape, the works highlight the ties between the contemporary resurgence of nationalism and a suppressed colonial past.


The exhibition extends the artist’s ongoing project, The Stranger’s Notebook – the result of a thirteen-month journey exploring mobilities within Africa and across the Mediterranean – to focus on built forms including architecture, industries and infrastructures, as well as questions of labour, the pitfalls of nationhood and intertwined narratives of migration. A newly commissioned film on the Casa d’Italia, a community centre built in 1936 in Montreal, probes the building’s graphic and architectural language to unpack its complicated fascist symbolism. Examining parallels between African histories and European modernism, the exhibition also investigates how objects often operate as texts in the construction and transmission of cultural ideologies. Petros looks at how these objects often obscure power differentials while connecting people across borders, binding disparate geographies such as Italy, Eritrea and Canada.


“He is interested in metaphorical possibilities” - Emmanuel Iduma on Dawit L. Petros, The New York Review of Books (Oct 2020). 




His solo touring exhibition Spazio Disponible is currently on view at University of Buffalo Art Galleries, New York until 15 May 2021 which then tours to MacKenzie Art Gallery , Regina, Saskatchewan: 9 December 2021 – 3 April 2022. The exhibition began at The Power Plant in Toronto from January to July 2020. 


Invited by the Vision & Justice Project & Frieze New York, Tiwani Contemporary will host a live conversation between the artist and Dr.Teresa Fiore about Spazio Disponibile on Friday 7 May - 1pm EST & 6PM UK Time. For more information and to sign up. Click here. 


In September 2021, Tiwani Contemporary will host the artist's UK solo exhibition in London. 




The New York Review of Books

The Guardian

The Globe & Mail

The LA Review of Books. 

The New York Times

Art News