Creative Mind: Brendan Fernandes
Seamlessly blending dance, design, and performance art, the interdisciplinary artist defies classification
“I am a Kenyan Canadian Indian American, but I’m also a ballet dancer–punk rocker,” says interdisciplinary artist Brendan Fernandes, whose movement-based art defies classification. Revered for his kinetic sculptures, where ballerinas interact with built “devices,” Fernandes carefully choreographs and seamlessly blends dance, design, and performance art.
To create works like 72 Seasons (2021), the artist partnered with a team of gardeners at the Lurie Garden in Chicago’s Millennium Park as well as costume designer Rad Hourani to illustrate the Japanese calendar. “I love having these different intersections where I can work with so many people, and that creates community,” Fernandes explains.
“I love having these different intersections where I can work with so many people, and that creates community”brendan fernandes
But the pandemic challenged that collaborative nature. Without a safe physical environment for his presentations, he explored a virtual one. For his 2020 piece, The Left Space, he worked with dancers from Hit & Run Dance Productions, who performed from their homes around the world, incorporating graphic design and musical elements to foster social solidarity across the digital realm. “All my dancers were in different places, but the Zoom screen allowed us to all gather and be together,” he says.
UP NEXT: Fernandes continues to experiment with movement in the metaverse with his newest NFT series, “Souvenir.” Proceeds from this project will go toward a fund to support dancers who have lost income as a result of the pandemic.
A version of this article first appeared in print in our 2022 Spring Issue under the headline “Creative Minds.” Subscribe to the magazine.