* 1979 in Nairobi (KE), lives and works in New York City (US) Artist Statement
In his work Brendan Fernandes investigates the concept of authenticity as an ideological construct that both dominant and subordinate cultures use to their own ends. It is a concept that shapes cultural experience, and thus also shapes the concepts and formation of identity.
In his recent work he has explored the dilemmas and codes that language creates through ethnicity and sub-culture. He is interested in how language becomes codified, where it creates barriers that obstruct understanding within specific groups and communities. In particular, he investigates how language can be altered and forgotten through the process of migration. Language informs identity by the transformation of becoming something else through processes of loss and gain, forgetfulness and remembrance. Fernandes is also interested in how vocabulary becomes altered in slang and pidgin English, where language itself is transformed to look and sound different and yet still carries the same meaning. These investigations of culture have yielded several important questions that guide his work, not the least of which is: Who am I?
Fernandes has participated in several residency programs and sees these as opportunities important to the way in which he produces his work. His practice is motivated by a social and political interest, and through the residencies he has been given the opportunity to become more involved in new art communities. His new works created in this context are directly affected by the specificity of his surroundings while allowing him to interact within a greater and globalized art world.
Installation mit Hirschattrappe, afrikanischen Masken aus Plastik, Vinyl, courtesy Diaz Contemporary