The Power Plant

Italy and East Africa: Unexplored Histories, with Teresa Fiore and Liz Park

Sat Jun 27 2020

7:00 AM – 8:00 AM




To consider multiple perspectives about migrations, modernism, and Italian colonization in East Africa – the subject of Dawit L. Petros: Spazio Disponibile – in greater depth, The Power Plant presents a series of online conversational programs in partnership with the Istituto Italiano di Cultura.

Initially conceived as a symposium, this series seeks to illuminate how this period of colonization in African and Italian history informs the current political climate, past and present migrations, and how artists continue to respond to its legacy.

This program will feature a presentation by Teresa Fiore, and a conversation between the scholar and curator Liz Park. The conversation will be followed by a Q&A.

Transnational Pre[-]Occupations in Dawit L. Petros’ Project about Colonial and Migratory Spaces (Eritrea-Italy-Canada)

By Dr. Teresa Fiore, Professor and Inserra Chair in Italian and Italian American Studies, Modern Languages and Literatures, Montclair State University

This talk unpacks the complex transnational map of colonial and migratory mobilities that Dawit L. Petros explores in his project, a relentless search for the connections linking Italy, Eritrea and Canada, both historically and culturally. The spaces of Petros’ images, and the bodies, voices, and objects that inhabit them, are constantly pre-occupied by past stories of relocations tied to imperialistic drives as much as economic need. Visual palimpsests resulting from archival research and encounters in the course of his travels, Petros’ works serve as powerful reflections on forms of exclusion and inclusion, and of memory and amnesia in the present. At a moment in which the fight against racial discrimination is inflaming the world, Petros’ composed works are gestures against the preoccupation surrounding immigrants, especially African immigrants, and reminders of the importance of historical reverberations in understanding race relations in our era.

Prof. Teresa Fiore, Inserra Chair in Italian and Italian American Studies - Montclair State University, New Jersey, is the recipient of several fellowships (Fulbright, De Bosis, Rockefeller) and holder of visiting positions (Harvard, NYU, and Rutgers). Fiore is the author of Pre-Occupied Spaces: Remapping Italy's Transnational Migrations and Colonial Legacies (2017, AAIS Prize, MLA Marraro Honorable Mention, Gadda Prize Runner Up) and the co-editor of the section “Italy and the Euro-Mediterranean ‘Migrant Crisis’” in the Journal of Modern Italian Studies (2018). Her numerous articles on migration to/from Italy linked to 20th- and 21st-century Italian literature and cinema have appeared in Italian, English and Spanish in both journals and edited volumes. On campus, she coordinates programs on Italy’s transnational culture.

Liz Park received an MA in Critical Curatorial Studies at the University of British Columbia. She was associate curator of the Carnegie International, 57th ed., 2018. She has curated internationally including at the Western Front in Vancouver, the Kitchen in New York, Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, and Seoul Art Space_Geumcheon in Seoul. Her writing has been published by Afterall Online, ArtAsiaPacific, Performa Magazine, Fillip, Yishu: A Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art, Pluto Press, and Ryerson University Press, among others. In 2011–2012, Park was Helena Rubinstein Fellow in the Curatorial Program at the Whitney Museum’s Independent Study Program, and in 2013–2015, the Whitney-Lauder Curatorial Fellow at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia. She is currently Curator of Exhibitions at UB Art Galleries, in Buffalo, USA.

Missed the Symposium?