Artist Talk and Reception
Saturday, April 7, 2018, 2 PM
On view through May 6, 2018
During my thirty-plus years as an exhibiting artist, philosophical, political, environmental, social, and spiritual concerns have dominated my practice, which is constantly evolving. Since the early 2000s, my work has incorporated elements of my Sri Lankan heritage. In 2015 and 2017, I received two Ontario Arts Council grants to return to my homeland to study traditional arts and crafts, including temple mural painting, bobbin lace making, and mask making. I intended to revitalize these old forms through reinterpretation within a contemporary context.
Focusing on the rich history of Buddhist temple painting—specifically, floral motifs and repeat patterning—and delving beyond the purely ornamental allowed me to explore the place of beauty and spirituality within conflict as well the lasting legacies of colonialism and commerce. Within this context, beauty becomes a form of resistance.
My recent work is a meditation on the paradoxes between conflict and tranquility, calamity and splendour, the sacred and the profane.
In amalgamating Western and South Asian concepts, belief systems, and visual languages, I speak from the “in-between” of varied social and cultural realities. The resulting works reflect my hybridity as a Sri Lankan-born Canadian, who sees from a perspective somewhere between the latitudes of Colombo and Toronto.
About the artist:
Frances Ferdinands (b. Colombo, Sri Lanka) has presented her work in solo and group exhibitions for more than three decades across Canada and in the United States, and as far afield as Paris and Bogotà. Largely based in Toronto, she is the recipient of many OAC and Canada Council artist grants. Her paintings are held in private, corporate, and museum collections—including that of the Royal Ontario Museum—and she won the Royal Canadian Mint competitions to design the 2017 Diwali and the 2018 multicultural commemorative coins.