The omnipresent phenomenon of human migration that's deeply effecting our world for centuries, has inspired the Eritrea-born artist Dawit L. Petros to create a series of artworks that explore the relationship between the cross-border flows and the creation of our modern day society. For the purpose of a show, the artist traveled from Nigeria to Morocco and finally to Europe, while taking photos of people along the way. The images that document this one-year long journey will be on view in Dawit L. Petros' new exhibition at Tiwani Contemporary. The exhibition entitled The Stranger's Notebook (Prologue) will include an array of photographs, video works, objects and sounds that powerfully portray an existentialist journey between the two continents but also between displacement and finding a home.
Dawit L. Petros is a New York based artist whose work focuses on the intricate bond between European modernism and African histories. In his latest exhibition, Dawit L. Petros explores the current topic of migration as a force that shapes the modern era by questioning the predominance of certain migration narratives over others. Although intercontinental migrations are a common thing among African natives this particular exhibition focuses on the population's movement between various countries within the African continent. Dawit L. Petros explores the relationship between an individual and a place by balancing between their surrounding portraits of his subjects and captivating landscape images. Some artworks employ a more fragmented aesthetic, evoked with the use of video and sound elements and with a possibility of multiple viewpoints.
The 1895 book About the Author's Journey from Ethiopia to Italy and about the Impressions Made on Him by His Stay in That Country in Tigrinya, written by the father of Tigrinya literature, Fesseha Giyorgis served as a starting point for the creation of the show. One of the earliest travel writings in the world, contains a vivid counterpoint to contemporary narratives about migration and challenges the legacy of European colonialism. Thought Fesseha Giyorgis' text determined the artist's main approach, The Stranger's Notebook (Prologue) exhibition gets its title from a more recent masterpiece The Stranger, celebrated 1942 novel by Albert Camus as the show aims to convey the feeling of being an outsider so powerfully portrayed in the book. But the concept of The Stranger's Notebook (Prologue), doesn't rely solely on the works by the great Ethiopian and French authors. It also pivots around the idea of a "paradoxical stranger" created by the sociologist Georg Simmel. His concept of a stranger as someone who's simultaneously distanced from others but also paradoxically a person of trust (whose opinion is valued for his of hers objectivity), resonates strongly throughout the exhibition.
The Stranger's Notebook (Prologue) is a multidisciplinary show that represents first part of the Dawit L. Petros' trilogy that will revolve around the topic of migration. This will be the artist's first solo show in Europe having presented his photography works at The View From Here groups exhibition at Tiwani Contemporary in May 2015. The exhibition of latest works by African-born and New-York based artist will be on view from May 19th till June 25th, 2016 at Tiwani Contemporary gallery in London.
Editor's tip : The Stranger
The existentialist literature masterpiece and one of the books that inspired the exhibition, The Stranger by Albert Camus represents an philosophical exploration of what the author called "the tender indifference of the world", Through the story of an ordinary man drawn into a senseless murder on an Algerian beach, Camus explored what he termed "the nakedness of man faced with the absurd". Meursault leads an apparently unremarkable bachelor life in Algiers until he commits a random act of violence. His lack of emotion and failure to show remorse only serve to increase his guilt in the eyes of the law, and challenges the fundamental values of society - a set of rules so binding that any person breaking them is condemned as an outsider. For Meursault, this is an insult to his reason and a betrayal of his hopes; for Camus it encapsulates the absurdity of life. In The Stranger, his classic novel, Camus explores the predicament of the individual who refuses to pretend and is prepared to face the indifference of the universe, courageously and alone.