Brendan Fernandes

Brendan Fernandes, as a multidisciplinary artist, examines issues of cultural displacement, migration, labor, and queer subjectivity through installation, video, sculpture, and dance. He is invested in confronting the complexities of transitional and transnational identities, with a particular interest in incorporating elements of cultural performance into contemporary art, arising from his unique cultural background as a Queer, Kenyan-Indian Canadian. His unique series of cast bronze sculptures presents as bound rope, characteristic of the patterns found within Shibari bondage, a form of BDSM that skillfully utilizes ropes, knots, braids, and harnesses to bind and adorn the body. The sculptures, inspired by, Ballet Kink a performance he did at the Guggeneheim Museum in 2019, are suspended within custom-built armatures designed to emphasize the position each bind would have had on the absent body, confronting viewers with a truly still evocation of the body’s removal, creating monuments to the absences. 


Fernandes is a graduate of the Whitney Independent Study Program (2007) and a recipient of a Robert Rauschenberg Fellowship (2014). In 2010, he was shortlisted for the Sobey Art Award, and is the recipient of a prestigious 2017 Canada Council New Chapters grant. Brendan is also the recipient of the Artadia Award (2019), a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship (2020) and a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation grant (2019). His projects have shown at the 2019 Whitney Biennial (New York); the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York); the Museum of Modern Art (New York); The Getty Museum (Los Angeles); the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa); MAC (Montreal); among a great many others. Public collections include, Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queens University, Kingston, ON, DePaul University Art Museum, Chicago, IL, Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery, Concordia University, Montreal, QC, Mobile Archive, The Israeli Center for Digital Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, ON among others. He is currently lives and works in Chicago where he is an Assistant Professor of Art, Theory, and Practice at Northwestern University, Chicago.