Brendan Fernandes

About Brendan Fernandes

Brendan Fernandes was born in Kenya of Indian heritage and currently lives and works in Toronto and New York. Often drawing on post-colonial theory, Fernandes’ work investigates the concepts of cultural identity and authenticity, and highlights the complexities of such terms in the context of globalization. His work has examined Western notions of an exotic Africa, as well as how culture is disseminated in the Western world. It also investigates the plasticity of personal identity, foregrounding in particular the process of migration. Migration defines identity via one’s transformation of becoming something else through processes of loss and gain, forgetfulness and remembrance.

Through his use of language, dance, video and sound, Fernandes re-examines historical material with an eye towards experiential and affective elements. In his newest work he draws on these explorations in order to look at the intimate relation between embodiment and identity. His work examines how movement techniques are recalled in the body via muscle memory and Fernandes explores this phenomenon through cultural dance, ballet, and the language that prescribes directions for the dancer to move. In 2010, he was a finalist for the prestigious Sobey Art Award.