Rajni Perera : Phylogeny

August 31 to October 14, 2023

Rajni Perera : Phylogeny

Phylogeny is a body of work addressing themes of climate change and destruction, cross-species mutation and extinction, including humans, which is a set of ideas I believe to be thematically pertinent and relevant to my practice at this time. The series is intended to further realise and resolve past work about immigration and diasporic social, ideological, spiritual and cultural movement and change. The intention is also to move it into a space that critiques and analyzes the way we educate society through museums and museum display, archiving, and the practices related to that particular type of teaching and its inherent acceptance, tone, biases, assumptions, and limitations.

The goal would be to treat taxidermy and naturalism, appropriated from the colonizing and quantifying context of these techniques, as an applied art through which critical thinking can occur. These fabricated mutations are to be based on imagined projections of earth species, drawing from scientific projections of biome change. Effectively it is to engage animal physiology, time, and change as expandable ideas, and to investigate the meaning of showcasing a speculative physiological future affecting different living bodies. The series will also address the function of natural history museum display and the supposed finality of knowledge presented within that setting, while calling attention to the interconnected and urgent matters of climate change, biome destruction, extinction and the relationship of humans to these tropes as spectators, instigators, participators, perpetrators and victims.

¬— Rajni Perera, Montréal, 2023

About Rajni Perera

The work of Sri Lankan-born artist Rajni Perera explores diasporic mythology through the lens of science fiction. Drawing upon her own rich visual experience of immigrant culture, and her environmental concerns arising from colonialism and the ravages of profit-driven resource extraction, she imagines an off-world that is triumphant.

Her art has been exhibited at the McMichael Museum (Kleinburg, Canada, 2022-2023), Temple Contemporary (Philadelphia USA, 2022), Jeffrey Deitch (Los Angeles, 2022), National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa, Canada, 2021), Glasgow Tramway (Glasgow, Scotland, 2020), the Phi Foundation (Montreal, Canada, 2020), the Museum of Contemporary Art (Toronto, Canada, 2018), the Art Gallery of York University (Toronto, Canada, 2017), and the Colombo Art Biennale (Edinburgh, UK, 2017). The Art Gallery of Ontario acquired and exhibited one of her artworks in 2019 and the National Gallery of Canada in 2021.