The Left Space

Photo: of an art installation called The Left Space

The Left Space

By Brendan Fernandes

Curated by Shaun Dacey, Richmond Art Gallery in partnership with Richmond Public Art

Brendan Fernandes uses historically significant patterns to tell stories of power, camouflage, and resistance. Evoking a sense of urgency and emergency, “dazzle” patterns, which were painted on warships to confuse the enemy, are coupled with purple and magenta plaid, which at once symbolizes British colonial rule in Kenya, a warning to predators in the wild, and the flashing of police lights. Fernandes playfully wraps this symbolic print across Lansdowne Station. The gesture offers a moment to contemplate solidarity, resiliency, protection, and care during these trying times.

The print seen in this installation is one used as a backdrop in The Left Space, an online performance by the artist. Faced with a global pandemic, we have had to reimagine the ways that we gather, protest, and achieve critical mass. In the fall of 2020, the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto presented The Left Space, developed by Fernandes specifically for the online platform Zoom. In the performance, custom backdrops, such as the one seen here, and on-and-off camera sequences intervened in and aesthetically connected a team of dancers performing from their homes around the world.

This installation is presented in conjunction with the artist’s exhibition Inaction, which was on view at the Richmond Art Gallery from February to April 2021.

Presented in partnership with Capture Photography Festival and the Canada Line Public Art Program – InTransitBC

Image credit: Brendan Fernandes, The Left Space, 2020. Courtesy of the Artist.