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Internationally Acclaimed Artist Brendan Fernandes Solo Exhibition 'Brendan Fernandes: We Want a We'


January 14, 2020

The Leonard Pearlstein Gallery and Drexel University are excited to announce that internationally acclaimed, multidisciplinary artist, Brendan Fernandes will kick-off their 2020 programming with a solo exhibition entitled, We Want a We. This exhibition – showcasing a diverse blend of performative, sculptural, and photographic works from the past five years – will mark the first retrospective in Philadelphia of this important artist’s work.

Brendan Fernandes – who was recently featured in the 2019 Whitney Biennial – “explores issues of cultural displacement, migration, labor, and queer subjectivity through installation, video, sculpture, and dance.” Activating the more than 3500 square feet of the Leonard Pearlstein Gallery, We Want a We will offer Philadelphia an excellent introduction to the breadth of the young artist’s practice, including interactive sculpture, photographic series, video, and performance from several distinct periods of his rising career.

For We Want a We, Brendan Fernandes will be working with Drexel's Dance Department to re-vision previous improvisational dance structures and to create new site-specific works that respond to the architecture of the Leonard Pearlstein Gallery. The artist says of his newest work: “Choreography, as I understand it, is a tool for coding and decoding the language of movement. I look at movement through queer and laboring bodies as they relate to the construction of gender roles and physicality.” Throughout the run of the exhibition, dancers will engage with the space each Friday: please see the attached schedule for event details.

The artist will be in attendance for the reception on Friday, February 28th – before the reception, he will be speaking about his contemporary art practice and "unique cultural background as a Queer, Kenyan-Indian Canadian” as a part of the distinguished Rankin Scholar Lecture Series. In addition, Brendan Fernandes will be hosting a movement-based workshop for the community – entitled Do or Die – in the historic Picture Gallery on Drexel Campus that afternoon. These programs are free and open to the public. More information at:

Brief Artist Bio
Brendan Fernandes (b. 1979, Nairobi, Kenya) is an internationally recognized Canadian artist working at the intersection of dance and visual arts. Currently based out of Chicago, Brendan's projects address issues of race, queer culture, migration, protest and other forms of collective movement. Always looking to create new spaces and new forms of agency, Brendan's projects take on hybrid forms: part Ballet, part queer dance hall, part political protest...always rooted in collaboration and fostering solidarity. Brendan is a graduate of the Whitney Independent Study Program (2007) and a recipient of a Robert Rauschenberg Fellowship (2014). In 2010, he was shortlisted for the Sobey Art Award, and is currently the recipient of a 2017 Canada Council New Chapter grant. His projects have shown at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York); the Museum of Modern Art (New York); The Getty Museum (Los Angeles); the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa); MAC (Montreal); among a great many others. He is currently artist-in-residency and faculty at Northwestern University and represented by Monique Meloche Gallery in Chicago. Upcoming projects in 2019 include performances and solo presentations at the Solomon R. Guggenheim (New York); The Whitney Biennial (New York); the Smithsonian Museum of American Art (Washington); the Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago); and the Noguchi Museum (New York).

Brendan Fernandes: We Want a We Events

Weekly Performances
Fridays from 11AM- 12PM January 17th through February 21st, 2020
Come see Drexel’s dance students interact with the exhibition during weekly performances choreographed with Brendan Fernandes for the Pearlstein gallery space and windows. Light refreshments will be served. (January- 17, 24, 31 and February 7, 14, 21)

Opening Performance
Thursday January 16th 6:30-7:30pm
To kick off the opening of the exhibition there will be one evening performance on Thursday 1/16 from 6:30-7:30pm. Leonard Pearlstein Gallery, 3401 Filbert St, Philadelphia, PA 19104

Movement Workshop
We invite you to join Brendan Fernandes for a community movement workshop and discussion: Do or Die, Friday February 28, 2020: 1-3PM. AJ Picture Gallery, 3rd Floor Main Building, Drexel University

Rankin Distinguished Scholar Presentation: Brendan Fernandes: We Want a We
Friday February 28, 2020, 5-6PM
URBN ANNEX Screening Room, 3401 Filbert St, Philadelphia, PA 19104

Artist Reception
Brendan Fernandes: We Want a We
Friday February 28, 2020 -- 6-9pm
With a series of performances [Performances 6:30-8:30 pm]
Leonard Pearlstein Gallery, 3401 Filbert St, Philadelphia, PA 19104

All programming has been in collaboration with: Drexel’s Westphal College of Media Arts and Design and The Rankin Scholar Program, Drexel’s Dance program in the Performing Arts Department, Drexel’s Art and Art History program, Drexel’s Graphic Design program, Drexel’s Women and Gender Studies program in the Sociology Department, The Drexel Collection and AJ Drexel Picture Gallery, DART, Drexel’s Student Run Art Organization and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago.

We Want a We, a solo exhibition by Brendan Fernandes

January 14, 2020 to March 15, 2020
Leonard Pearlstein Gallery, Drexel University, 3401 Filbert St, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Artist’s Reception: Friday, February 28th – 5-8PM
Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 11AM-6PM
Weekly performance by Drexel Dancers will occur on Fridays during the run of the show: January 17, 24,31, February 7, 14,21, 28, and March 6, 13.
Press Contact: Leah Appleton,