OAF News

Artist Dawit L. Petros awarded the Paul de Hueck and Norman Walford Career Achievement Award for Art Photography

Toronto, January 24, 2022  – Dawit L. Petros (Montreal / Chicago) is this year’s recipient of the Paul de Hueck and Norman Walford Career Achievement Award. This year’s $50,000 award recognizes outstanding achievement in the field of art photography. 

About Dawit L. Petros

Dawit L. Petros is a visual artist, researcher, and educator. His work is informed by studies of global modernisms, theories of diaspora, and postcolonial studies. Petros installs photographs, moving images, sculptural objects, and sound work according to performative, painterly, or site responsive logics. Moving between the works echoes the extensive travel taken to produce them; while recurrent visual or formal devices quietly indicate the complex backdrops against which his projects are set.

Dawit L. Petros received his MFA in Visual Art from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts/Tufts University, a BFA in Photography from Concordia University, a BFA in History from the University of Saskatchewan and completed the Whitney Independent Study Program in New York. Recent exhibitions have been held at the 5th Istanbul Design Biennial; 13th Havana Biennial in Matanzas, Cuba; Bamako Encounters Biennale, Mali; Dakar Biennale, Senegal; Prospect.4, New Orleans; Oslo Kunstforening, Oslo, Norway; Huis Marseille Museum of Photography, Amsterdam, Netherlands. 

His work and research have been recognized with awards including a Terra Foundation Fellowship, The Duke and Duchess of York Prize in Photography, an Independent Study Fellowship at the Whitney Museum of American Art, an Art Matters Fellowship, Canada Council for the Arts Production Grants, and Artist Residencies at The Studio Museum in Harlem, The McColl Center for Visual Art, and Addis Ababa Photo Fest. 

Dawit L. Petros is a co-founder with Heba Y. Amin of Black Athena Collective. He is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Photography at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Dawit L. Petros is represented by Tiwani Contemporary in London, UK and Bradley Ertaskiran in Montreal, Canada.

Jury Comments

The jury was unanimous in their choice of Dawit as laureate for the 2021 Paul de Hueck and Norman Walford Career Achievement Award. They said: “Dawit pushes forward the medium of photography, demonstrating excellence, inventiveness and innovation through his substantial body of work. His strong voice challenges what we know about photography and his recent works help us understand the interconnected histories of Italy, Eritrea and Canada, linking these to contemporary migrants.”

Dawit L. Petros was selected by a jury comprised of Senior Curator at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia David Diviney (Halifax, NS), independent curator Dominique Fontaine (Montréal, QC), and photographer and 2019 Paul de Hueck and Norman Walford Award recipient Shelley Niro (Brantford, ON).  

“Between departures, returns and excesses of image, Part V”, Serigraph on canvas, 35 x 44”, 2021.
Image courtesy of The Artist and Bradley Ertaskiran

About the Award
The Paul de Hueck and Norman Walford Career Achievement Award was established at the Ontario Arts Foundation by the late Norman Walford, former Executive Director of the Ontario Arts Council, and the late Paul de Hueck, former CBC television production manager.  The award recognizes in alternating years a classical or jazz keyboard artist, an art photographer, and a classical singer.  The winner is chosen through a nominating and adjudication process managed by the Ontario Arts Council. 

Previous award winners in the field of art photography include Shelley Niro (2019), Rosalie Favell (2017), and Moyra Davey (2015). See the full list of previous recipients.


For more information, please contact:

Bruce Bennett
Executive Director, Ontario Arts Foundation
Tel: (416) 969-7413

 Established in 1991, the Ontario Arts Foundation (OAF) is passionately committed to building long-term support for the arts in Ontario. In 2020-2021, the OAF paid over $5.1 million in endowment income and $220,000 in awards and scholarships.

For more than 55 years, the Ontario Arts Council (OAC) has played a vital role in promoting and assisting the development of the arts for the enjoyment and benefit of Ontarians. In 2020-2021, the Ontario Arts Council invested $78.6 million in 206 communities across Ontario through 2,176 grants to individual artists and 1,312 grants to organizations.

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