Critical Writing Index

The Nature of Culture: Sobey Nominee Brendan Fernandes explores transitional identity

by Pandora Syperek

Canadian Art, Spring 2011, v. 28, no. 1, pp. 65-69

As one of the youngest nominees for the Sobey Art Award (2010) and an upcoming showing of his work at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum's Spring Exhibition, Brendan Fernandas' work is making an impact. The Kenya born multimedia artist, spending most of his childhood in Newmarket, Ontario, exercises the hardships of culture integration throughout his work, while analyzing the effects of environment in shaping identity. Fernandes' work is also rooted in his constant contemplation of the 'authentic' and its complex relation to cultural identities and stereotypes.

As Eric C. Shiner, acting director at Pittsburghs Andy Warhol Museum explains "[Fernandes' output] is complex on a variety of levels, analyzing such disparate topics as race, individual identities, gender roles and cultural anthropology, and yet he seemlessly combines these diverse subjects to create thought-provoking work that is both academic and emotive. Fernandes also has great interest in the anthropomorphizing of animals within his work, to discuss moral issue, and the adoption of "natural metaphor to consider interhuman dynamics". Notably, his video work entitled Slow Kill (2007) demonstrates this, also existing as a critique on current day technology fetishisms.

ITEM 2011.010 – available for viewing in the Research Centre

Videos, Artworks and Artists Cited

Voo Doo You Doo SpeakBrendan Fernandes


Slow Kill

Love Kill


Performing Foe

Semiotics of Africa