Exploring Cinematic Histories: Dawit L. Petros Begins His G.A.S. Residency

Exploring Cinematic Histories: Dawit L. Petros Begins His G.A.S. Residency

The start of May was marked by the arrival of our seventh Tiwani Contemporary supported resident at G.A.S. Foundation. Dawit L. Petros. Dawit’s rich, collaborative multidisciplinary practice blends visual art, film and photography. His time in Lagos will provide a crucial opportunity to build on and develop existing projects.

During his four weeks in the city, Dawit will prioritize the production of both photographic and moving image works. He also looks forward to staging public cinemas showcasing his works in progress as a means of fostering communal engagement and dialogue around alternative forms and histories of cinema. Additionally, Dawit is keen to conduct archival research and plans to explore materials related to Nigerian cinema, migration into Lagos, and historical maps of conflict zones.

Having mapped out a collaborative venture with Qudus Onikeku and the Q Dance Company, he hopes to enrich his existing practice through this partnership. He also anticipates a fruitful remote collaboration with Emmanuel Iduma, focusing on textual responses to exchanged materials


What is the current focus of your creative practice?    

My current focus is on African mobilities and the entanglement of the colonial modern which continue to shape the present. I want to develop a better understanding of how to undo the legacies of colonial knowledge by surfacing hidden stories that are encoded in built forms: architecture, infrastructure, and publications.


Between Departures, Returns, and Excesses of Image, Part V/ Paul Litherland. Image courtesy of Dawit Petros. .


What drew you to apply for this residency and how do you think it will inform your wider practice?    

I have been largely committed to conducting research over this past year and a half. I am ready to produce a body of work at the intersection of image, photography, sound, and public dialogue. GAS is a profound platform for creative collaboration and dialogue with a dedicated group of artist practitioners in the energy and creative hub that is Lagos.


Spectral Fragment I, 2023 (crop). Image courtesy of Dawit Petros. 

Can you give us an insight into how you hope to use the opportunity?    

I want to use the opportunity to produce work but also to conduct research into lines of inquiry that will unfold over the next 7 years.


Strategic Withdrawal, Central Sector, 1900, Number 3 (2023). Image courtesy of Dawit Petros.



Dawit L. Petros is a visual artist, researcher, and educator. He completed an MFA in Visual Art at Tufts University/School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; a BFA in Photography at Concordia University, Montreal; a BA in History at the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon; and the Independent Study Program at the Whitney Museum in New York City. His work bridges art, design, architecture, and history. Petros interrogates the relationship between African history, migration narratives, modernity, and the legacies of colonialism shaping current events. Petros anchors his production of photography, video, sound, and sculptural installations on extensive periods of study and travel. He is sensitive to formal concerns that balance political engagement with aesthetic language drawn from an abiding interest in minimalist sculpture and conceptual art-making.


Dawit's residency is generously supported by Tiwani Contemporary.


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