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Talks

Art in the Spotlight: Rajni Perera

Artist Rajni Perera seated in her studio wearing a long black coat and yellow trousers

Image courtesy of Rajni Perera

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Talks

Art in the Spotlight: Rajni Perera

Tuesday May 26, 4 pm

Join the AGO as we look at works in the collection that speak to the times, from themes of staying at home to how we will re-emerge into our community.

This week Devyani Saltzman, Director of Public Programs, speaks to artist Rajni Perera about the AGO's recent acquisition of her work, Fresh Air (2019), and pieces that speak to her.‌

Rajni Perera was born in Sri Lanka in 1985 and lives and works in Toronto. Perera’s work explores issues of hybridity, sacrilege and irreverence, indexical sciences, ethnography, gender, sexuality, popular culture, deities, monsters, and dream worlds. All of these themes marry in a newly objectified realm of mythical symbioses, made to act as Perera’s personal record of impossible discoveries. Her work actively engages in discussion with the viewing audience about the aesthetic treatment of gender and the non-European sacred and secular body in a popular culture context. Thus, her work creates a subversive aesthetic that counteracts oppressive discourse and acts as a restorative force through which people can move out of repressive modes of being and towards reclaiming their power.

Her art has been exhibited at the Phi Foundation (Montreal, Canada, 2020), Chromatic Festival (Montréal, Canada, 2019), the Museum of Contemporary Art (Toronto, Canada, 2018), The MAM Rio (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) Art Metropole (Toronto, Canada, 2017), Gallery 44 (Toronto, Canada, 2017), the Art Gallery of York University (Toronto, Canada, 2017), OTA Fine Arts (Tokyo, Japan 2017), Superchief Gallery (Brooklyn, USA, 2017), the Colombo Art Biennale (Colombo, Sri Lanka, 2016), The Public House of Art (Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2016), Art Dubai (Dubai, UAE, 2016), Scope Basel, Scope Miami and the Art League Houston (Houston, USA, 2014), and other sites. She shows at Patel-Brown Gallery in Toronto, Galerie Hugues Charbonneau in Montreal, and Saskia Fernando Gallery in Colombo.

‌‌‌Devyani Saltzman is a Canadian writer and curator with a deep interest in relevant, multidisciplinary, programming at the intersection between art, ideas and social change. She is the Director of Public Programming at the AGO, and the former Director of Literary Arts at the Banff Centre, the first woman and first woman of colour in that role, as well as a Founding Curator of Luminato, North America's largest multi arts festival. Her work has appeared in The Globe and Mail, National Post, The Atlantic and Tehelka, India's weekly of arts and investigative journalism. She sits on the boards of the Writers’ Trust of Canada and SummerWorks Performance Festival, and has been a juror for the National Magazine Awards, Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council and The Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction. Saltzman has a degree in Anthropology and Sociology from Oxford. 

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