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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Here's a press release for my new photography installation, based on 18th century carvings in  an historic cemetery here in NoHo:


Museum & Education Center
46 Bridge St., Northampton, MA 01060

Historic Northampton, Northampton Center for the Arts, and A.P.E. Gallery present

Hiraeth in Northampton: An Exploration of Longing

 by Pamela Petro

November 8 – December 8, 2013

Opening Reception on Arts Night Out,
Friday, November 8, 2013   5-8 pm

    Hiraeth (HERE-eyth) is a Welsh word with no equivalent in English. It refers to “the presence of absence”— a yearning for the unattainable or irretrievable that exists beyond place or time. In “Hiraeth in Northampton: An Exploration of Longing,” writer and artist Pamela Petro has created an installation that cleaves to the heart of hiraeth, lodging it amongst the masterfully carved 18th century gravestones in Northampton’s Bridge Street Cemetery.
    The interactive installation turns the presence of absence into a dialogue between centuries, the living and dead, words and images, and sentient beings and stones. Viewers will be asked to have their photographs taken through a series of salvaged windows, each of which is printed with the image of an 18th century gravestone carving. Viewers will also be asked to choose a line of text to hold in the photograph, taken from one of the cemetery’s epitaphs. The final collection of photos will result in an artist’s book that catalogues a conversation between previous and current residents of the city, and will serve as testimony that hiraeth is a creative conundrum: we long for the impossible—to meet the dead, to experience the past, to inhabit the same place in another time—and while we cannot overcome hiraeth literally, we push ourselves to fill its gulf with imaginative collaborations.

Pamela Petro is a writer and artist who teaches creative non-fiction at Smith College and on Lesley University’s MFA in Creative Writing Program. She is the author of three works of travel literature and has written for publications from The New York Times to Granta and The Paris Review. In 2011 she was selected as a Grand Canyon Artist in Residence for her visual work with “petrographs,” environmental installations of photographs printed on stone. In 2007, as a Black Rock Arts Fellow, she printed silver gelatin photographs on the sidewalks of Northampton in her installation, “Fleeting Fossils.” For more images please see, and to read more on hiraeth, go to