Rajni Perera was born in Sri Lanka in 1985 and lives and works in Toronto. She explores issues of hybridity, futurity, ancestorship, immigration identity/cultures, monsters and dream worlds. All of these themes marry in a newly objectified realm of mythical symbioses. In her work she seeks to open and reveal the dynamism of the icons and objects she creates, both scripturally existent, self-invented and externally defined. She creates a subversive aesthetic that counteracts antiquated, oppressive discourse, and acts as a restorative force through which people can move outdated, repressive modes of being towards reclaiming their power.
Temple Contemporary — the Tyler School of Art and Architecture’s center for exhibitions and public programs — presents the Philadelphia debut of Beyond the Words of Earth, an otherworldly-inspired solo show by multi-disciplinary Toronto-based artist Rajni Perera.
On view through March 3, 2023, the exhibition invites viewers into a future where borders, imperialist capitalism, and ecological collapse have birthed the survival of Travellers — a humanoid species whose multi-ancestral technologies have allowed them to recreate planetary and interplanetary relations.
Through portraits, sculpture, and objects from her 2019 Traveller series, Perera simulates a natural history museum, presenting an evolutionary timescale thousands of years into the future. The exhibition portrays the phenomena of “off-worlding,” a concept derived from the artist’s extensive research on histories of colonization and how imperialism has impacted immigration.
Beyond the Words of Earth is a story told in three dimensions and demonstrates how mutation, adaptation, and reimagining technology impact our future while untangling metaphors of space-travel within immigrant life.
The exhibition features “A Starry-eyed Subspecies,” a new sculptural piece of a life-size Traveller and Post-Horse traversing a mutated and poisoned landscape left behind by greedy and wealthy corporate nations. The piece amplifies previous works that illustrate the history of Travellers with stories of extinction and survival.
Rajni Perera’s multi-disciplinary practice embodies the spirit of possibility. Her work illuminates how art is a catalyst for imagination and community care. I am excited for visitors to engage with the exhibition and consider what is possible in spite of the seemingly impossible times we are living in.Jova Lynne, exhibition curator and director of Temple Contemporary
Beyond the Words of Earth is on view through March 3, 2023, at Temple Contemporary of the Tyler School of Art and Architecture, Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
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Text source: Hyperallergic