Samrawit Dominique Cavallaro

Samrawit Dominique Cavallaro


My creative work encompasses the mediums of painting, drawing, video, collage and sculpture. Through these channels, I am exploring the formulation of identity through the framework of both personal and ancestral trauma. This is an attempt to understand how landscape dislocation and memory fragmentation influence the cultivation of identity and sense of belonging within the various physical and psychological spaces inhabited.

Emerging from the realities of transracial and transnational adoption, my most recent work is embedded within my own historical archives, where I am thinking of identity as a never ending process of production. In an attempt to move beyond the body as a form of representation, I have begun to look at the natural world and various plant systems as new visual and conceptual opportunities for the development of my work.

Through the violent-yet-therapeutic act of cutting and pasting, collage has become a medium through which I am able to identify the transcendental, nontemporal, and liminal spaces my general artistic practice aims to accomplish. Through this visual language, I hope to blur the lines that define the real and the imagined, the tangible and intangible.

My most recent project centers around the aerial rooting system of the Banyan tree. Through this, I am thinking about various visual mapping systems surrounding the concept of the “Family Tree” as well as ancestral lineage within the transracial transnational adoptee experience. Through the use of collage, I have completed a series of images in which I have superimposed photos from my woven sculpture archives onto photographs of a group of Banyan trees that I took on my most recent visit to Italy.

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