Brendan Fernandes was born in Nairobi, Kenya to a Goan, Indian family. Due to political unrest, his family, who lived in Africa for generations, immigrated to Toronto, Canada in 1989, where he spent his formative years as a dancer. In 2002, he received his BFA in Visual Arts from York University and in 2005, he received his MFA from The University of Western Ontario. Fernandes was elected to participate in the Whitney Museum of American Art's Independent Study Program in 2007, where he began to primarily make work at the intersection of dance and visual arts.
As a multidisciplinary artist, Fernandes 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. He currently serves as a faculty member at Northwestern University, teaching Art Theory and Practice.