Mario Petrirena was born in Cuba and was raised during the political upheaval of the 1960s. At the age of 8, he was one of 14,000 children evacuated to America during Operation Pedro Pan. At an early age, he began facing the challenges of dual heritage and identity that many immigrants and refugees still face today. Petrirena’s work, a combination of ceramics, installation pieces, and collage, reflects both the struggles and the value of his dual identities in an emotional and intuitive manner. MOCA GA is fortunate to have multiple works by Petrirena in its permanent collection and the upcoming exhibition will be a major retrospective of the prolific 30-year career of this artist. The exhibition will be accompanied by a scholarly catalogue in order to document Petrirena’s impacts in the literary canon of American art history.
Petrirena received BA from the University of Florida in 1977 and his MFA from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1981. His 30+ year career has been extremely successful as evidenced by numerous awards and solo exhibitions. He has exhibited throughout the nation at museums such as The Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, the High Museum of Art, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. He was a recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in 1988 and Pollock/Krasner Fellowship in 2006. He is included in multiple publications. The upcoming exhibition at MOCA GA will be the first retrospective for Petrirena and will be the largest solo exhibition of his work to date. The accompanying catalogue will explore many series of work that he has continued throughout his career, focusing on works from 1985-present.
Exhibition overview from museum website