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 an internationally recognized Canadian artist working at the intersection of dance and visual arts. Currently based out of Chicago, Brendan’s projects address issues of race, queer culture, migration, protest and other forms of collective movement. Always looking to create new spaces and new forms of agency, Brendan’s projects take on hybrid forms: part Ballet, part queer dance party, part political protest...always rooted in collaboration and fostering solidarity. Brendan 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), Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation grant (2019), a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship (2020), and a Black Cube Artist Fellow (2022). 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); Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto); The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts (Michigan); among a great many others. He is currently Assistant Professor at Northwestern University and represented by Monique Meloche Gallery in Chicago. Recent and upcoming projects include performances and solo presentations at the Munch Museum, Oslo, Norway; a collaboration with Danish National Radio, Copenhagen, Denmark, a group show at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa and a two person show at the Mass MoCA, North Adams, Massachusetts.