Starting with the body as a place of knowing, Fernandes offers multiple points of connection that draw upon traditional African textiles, costume and masks, gestures of Western ballet, and elegant, poetic dance choreographies within the museum vault. With this fresh approach to re-presenting African artifacts, he invokes a long-absent live-ness and reconsiders selections from two major collections in a set of new video, print and spatial intercessions. Fernandes’ montage of classical dance and the collected object is concentrated around precise body language that raises questions about the visual and discursive habits that shape understandings of African art within Western museums. Essays by specialists in art performance, dance history and African art explore the implications of Fernandes’ intervention with two of Canada’s most distinctive collections of African art: The Justin and Elisabeth Lang Collection of African Art at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre and the collection of the Textile Museum of Canada.
Brendan Fernandes is a Brooklyn-based Canadian artist of Kenyan and Indian descent. His work has been widely exhibited most notably at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Museum of Art and Design New York, National Gallery of Canada, Art in General, MASS MoCA, Andy Warhol Museum, Seattle Art Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Seattle Art Museum, Sculpture Center, Deutsche Guggenheim and Stedelijk Museum. Fernandes has participated in numerous residency programs including The Canada Council for the Arts International Residency in Trinidad and Tobago and The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Work Space. He is a 2014 recipient of a Robert Rauschenberg Residency Fellowship and in 2016 he will be artist in residence at Northwestern University in the Department of Dance Studies.
Delinda Collier is Assistant Professor of Art History, Theory, and Criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Kevin D. Dumouchelle is Associate Curator for the Arts of Africa and the Pacific Islands at the Brooklyn Museum.
Amanda Gilvin is Associate Curator of Collections at the Davis Museum at Wellesley College.
Amanda Jane Graham is the Andrew Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Dance Studies at Northwestern University.
Erica P. Jones is Assistant Curator of African Art at the UCLA Fowler Museum.
Nat Trotman is Curator of Performance and Media at the Guggenheim Museum.
Toronto-based designer Lauren Wickware was awarded both the 2017 Ontario Association of Art Galleries
Exhibition Catalogue Design Award and the 2016 Alcuin Society
for Excellence in Book Design’s Third Prize in Pictorial for her creative design work on the publication, Brendan Fernandes: Lost Bodies.
Wickware worked closely with artist Brendan Fernandes and Curator of Contemporary Art, Sunny Kerr to design a combination of artist’s book, exhibition catalogue and scholarly elaboration. Her play with colour, image alignment, and focal balance between artworks and essays brings this publication to life, communicating its energetic perspective on the Agnes’s Justin and Elisabeth Lang Collection of African Art.