Brendan Fernandes: The Left Space
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451 & 465 Saint-Jean Street
Montréal, Québec H2Y 2R5
March 9—July 9, 2023
Wednesday to Friday: 12 PM—7 PM
Saturday and Sunday: 11 AM—6 PM
Opening reception on March 8, 2023
From 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM
Reservations are not required, but before visiting the exhibition, you will be asked to register at the main entrance, which is located at 451 Saint-Jean Street.
• The wearing of masks is no longer mandatory. However, we encourage visitors to keep wearing masks for the continued safety and security of all.
• Gel hand sanitizing stations
If you have symptoms associated with COVID-19, please postpone your visit.
Before visiting, please review all essential information about the visit, including details on accessibility at the Foundation.
The Education Department offers on-site group visits and online virtual animations for school, academic, community, language school and general public groups. The group visit can be combined with a creative workshop. To make a reservation for your group, please fill our online form.
Dara Birnbaum, Chun Hua Catherine Dong, Mara Eagle, Brendan Fernandes, Francisco González-Rosas, Ilana Yacine Harris-Babou, Helena Martin Franco, Nation to Nation, Skawennati, Shanie Tomassini, Wu Tsang, VahMirè (Ludmila Steckelberg), Quentin VerCetty, Nico Williams
Dara Birnbaum was born in New York in 1946 where she continues to live and work. Birnbaum received a Bachelor of Architecture from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, a BFA in Painting from the San Francisco Art Institute, and a Certificate in Video and Electronic Editing from the Video Study Center at the New School for Social Research, New York. Her pioneering video, media, and installation work has, over the past four decades, addressed the ideological and the aesthetic character of mass media imagery and has been considered fundamental to our understanding of the history of media art. Birnbaum was one of the first artists to design complex and innovative installations that juxtapose imagery from multiple sources while also integrating three-dimensional elements—large-scale photographs, sculptural or architectural fragments—into the work. She is known for her groundbreaking strategies and for using manipulated television footage.
Birnbaum’s work has been widely exhibited at MoMA PS1, New York (2019); the National Portrait Gallery, London (2018); the Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio (2018); and the South London Gallery, UK (2011). She has had major retrospectives at the Serralves Foundation, Porto, Portugal (2010); the Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Gent, Belgium (2009); CCA Kitakyushu, Japan (2009); the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2008); the Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, Austria (2006); and the Jewish Museum, New York (2003). Her work was exhibited in Documenta 7, 8, and 9.
Birnbaum has received various distinguished awards such as the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (2021); the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center Arts Residency (2011); the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant (2011); and the prestigious United States Artists Fellowship (2010). In 2016 she was recognized and honoured for her work by The Kitchen, New York, at their annual gala. She was the first woman in video to receive the prestigious Maya Deren Award, in 1987. In February 2017, Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Art created The Birnbaum Award in the artist’s honour.
Source: Marian Goodman Gallery
Chun Hua Catherine Dong (she/they) is a Chinese-born Tiohtià:ke/Montréal-based multimedia artist. Dong received an MFA in Intermedia from Concordia University and a BFA in Visual Arts from Emily Carr University of Art + Design. Dong has exhibited their works at the Musée d’Art Contemporain du Val-de-Marne, France; Manif d’art—Quebec City Biennial; MOMENTA | Biennale de l’image, Montréal; the Kaunas Biennial, Lithuania; the Canadian Cultural Centre Paris, France; the Aine Art Museum, Tornio, Finland; Bury Art Museum, Manchester, UK; the Museo de la Cancillería, Mexico City; the Art Gallery of Hamilton, Ontario; Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, Halifax; the DongGang Museum of Photography, Yeongwol County, South Korea; the He Xiangning Art Museum, Shenzhen, China; the Hubei Museum of Art, Wuhan, China; the Art Museum at University of Toronto; and the Varley Art Gallery of Markham, Ontario, among others.
Dong has performed in many international performance art festivals, such as Rapid Pulse International Performance Art Festival, Chicago; 7a*11d International Festival of Performance Art, Toronto; Encuentr Performance, Santiago, Chile; The Great American Performance Art Festival, New York; Infr’Action, Venice, Italy; Dublin Live Art Festival, Ireland; Experimental Action/Performance Art, Houston; Internationales Festival für Performance, Mannheim, Germany; Inverse Performance Art Festival, California; Miami Performance International Festival; Nuit Blanche, Montréal; Visualeyez Performance Festival, Edmonton; M:ST Performative Art Festival, Calgary, and many public art galleries and spaces in Europe, North and South America.
Among many other grants and awards, Dong received the Franklin Furnace Award for performance art in New York in 2014, was listed amongst the “10 Artists Who Are Reinventing History” by Canadian Art in 2017, and was named “Artist of the Year” at the DongGang International Photo Festival in 2018. Dong was also a finalist for the Contemporary Art Award at the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (Prix en art actuel du MNBAQ) in 2020, and was awarded the Cultural Diversity in Visual Arts Award by the Conseil des arts de Montréal in 2021.
Mara Eagle is an American video and installation artist based in Montréal. Born in Boston in 1988, Eagle holds a Bachelor of Arts from Marlboro College (Vermont) and a Master of Fine Arts from Concordia University (Montréal). Pulling intuitively from the world of pop-culture, the Internet, and technology industries, her work explores the legacy of Western philosophy and natural science. Most recently, her projects have been animation-based, focusing on how practices of observation and representation in Western art and science have formulated a concept of nature amenable to industrialization, colonialism, and exploitation. Currently, she is a Bronfman fellow at Concordia University, as well as a collaborator with the Transformations of the Human program at University of California, Berkeley. Recently, her work has been exhibited at Pangée, Montréal; the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal; the Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montréal; Critical Distance, Toronto; the University of Kentucky Art Museum, Lexington; the Centre Clark, Montréal; Ada X, Montréal; the Leonard & Bina Ellen Gallery, Montréal; and Saw Video Media Centre, Ottawa, with a forthcoming exhibition at Concordia University’s FOFA Gallery. Her research has been generously supported by the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, the Berggruen Institute, the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et culture (FRQSC) and the Claudine and Stephen Bronfman Family Foundation.
Brendan Fernandes (b. 1979, Nairobi, Kenya) is an internationally recognized Canadian artist working at the intersection of dance and visual arts. Currently based in Chicago, Fernandes’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, Fernandes’s projects take on hybrid forms: part ballet, part queer dance hall, part political protest… always rooted in collaboration and fostering solidarity. Fernandes 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 the recipient of a prestigious 2017 Canada Council New Chapters grant. Fernandes is also the recipient of the Artadia Award (2019), a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship (2020), and a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation grant (2019). His projects have been shown at the 2019 Whitney Biennial, New York; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; MoMa, New York; the Getty Museum, Los Angeles; the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, and a great many others. He is currently Assistant Professor at Northwestern University and represented by Monique Meloche Gallery in Chicago. Recent and upcoming projects include performances and solo presentations at the Noguchi Museum, New York; Munch Art Museum, Oslo, Norway; The Richmond Art Gallery, Richmond; and The Girl’s Choir + Danish National Radio, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Francisco González-Rosas (he/they) is a performance and new media artist born in Chile, currently based in Tiohtià:ke/Montréal. Their creative research practice revolves around the constant mediation of reality in contemporary life, using performance as a generative device for inquiry rather than an end in itself. González-Rosas holds an MFA in Intermedia from Concordia University (Montréal), and a BA in Acting from Finis Terrae University (Santiago, Chile). Solo exhibitions include Techniques of the Narcissist at the Elektra Gallery, Montréal (2019), and The Museum of the Copy/Pasted Identities at the McLuhan Centre for Culture and Technology, Toronto (2022).
Ilana Harris-Babou’s work is interdisciplinary; spanning sculpture and installation and grounded in video. She speaks to the aspirational language of consumer culture and uses humour as a means to digest painful realities. Her work confronts the contradictions of the American Dream: the ever unreliable notion that hard work will lead to upward mobility and economic freedom. She has exhibited throughout the United States and Europe, with solo exhibitions at The Museum of Arts and Design, New York; and Larrie, New York. Other venues include the Abrons Arts Center, New York; the Jewish Museum, New York; the SculptureCenter, New York; the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; the De Young Museum, San Francisco; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Harris-Babou has been reviewed in The New Yorker, Artforum, and Art in America, among others. She holds an MFA in Visual Art from Columbia University, and a BA in Art from Yale University.
Born in Colombia, Helena Martin Franco has lived and worked in Tiohtià:ke/Mooniyang/Montréal since 1998. Her interdisciplinary practice explores the union of different artistic processes and the hybridization of traditional techniques and new technologies. She creates auto-fictions that examine the permeability and boundaries between cultural, national, and gender identities. Her work is part of the dialogue on sexual violence, immigration, and art censorship. Working from a feminist perspective, she builds relationships between collectives and cultural organizations that foster the meeting and exchange of artistic practices, namely between Canada and Colombia. She is the founder of L’Araignée, a collective for the dissemination of contemporary art, La Redhada, Red de mujeres artistas del Caribe colombiano, CAVCA; Comunidad de artistas visuales de Cartagena y Bolívar, and Las meninas emputás!, a Carthaginian anti-colonial activist collective.
She holds a Master’s degree in Visual and Media Arts from UQAM and her work has been presented in the Dominican Republic, Lithuania, Spain, New Zealand, Colombia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran, Argentina, Cuba, and Canada.
Nation to Nation is a collective of First Nations artists whose main goals are to create a forum for dialogue on First Nations art, culture, and issues; and to function as a catalyst for creative expression. As artists, they believe that creativity is a fundamental link that brings all aspects of community together. To achieve these goals, they curate exhibitions and organize events, performances, and workshops.
Nation to Nation began officially in April 1994, when Skawennati Tricia Fragnito, Ryan Rice, and Eric Robertson banded together to present the creativity they found within their communities.
The phrase “nation to nation” comes from Iroquois teachings about the traditional Kahswentha Two Row wampum, a treaty which embodies the idea of respect for a people’s customs, as one nation to another: Mohawk, Dutch, Seneca, American, etc. As a collective of contemporary Native artists, they use the phrase to express the idea of dialogue between people and peoples, as individuals, artist groups, communities, and countries. It also refers to the idea of movement; rather than focus on securing a permanent home, Nation to Nation, as a constantly mutating collective, will move nomadically from space to space, city to city, nation to nation.
True to their aims, they continue to organize events to keep them active and creative, while bringing together Natives and non-Natives, artists and non-artists. As their communities continue to expand, Nation to Nation will continue organizing events and exhibitions that encourage dialogue and artmaking, which strengthen their communities.
Skawennati investigates history, the future, and change from her perspective as an urban Kanien’kehá:ka woman and as a cyberpunk avatar. Her machinimas, still images, textiles, and sculptures have been presented internationally in biennials, group exhibitions, and solo shows. They are included in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, and the Thoma Foundation, among others.
An early adopter of cyberspace as both a location and a medium, she has produced groundbreaking projects, such as CyberPowWow (1997–2004), an online gallery, chatspace, and mixed-reality event, and TimeTraveller™ (2007–2013), a multimedia project with a machinima series as its basis. Skawennati has been active in various communities. In the 1980s she joined the nuclear disarmament peace group SAGE (Students Against Global Extermination), and the Quebec Native Women’s Association. In the 1990s she co-founded Nation to Nation, a First Nations artist collective, while working in and with various Indigenous organizations and artist-run centres, including the Native Friendship Centre of Montreal and Oboro.
Recipient of an Honorary Doctorate from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, she is also a founding board member of daphne, Montréal’s first Indigenous artist-run centre. She co-directs Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace (AbTeC), a research-creation network based at Concordia University, where she received her BFA. Originally from Kahnawà:ke Mohawk Territory, Skawennati resides in Montréal. She is represented by ELLEPHANT.
Shanie Tomassini is a sculptors whose work explores the cyclical and renewable potential of objects, sites, and ideas. Evoking sustainability, craftsmanship, and ecofeminism, her work hints at the sacred as it emerges from the mundane. She examines the nature of a material, reflecting on its evolution across space and time. She explores the potent aftermaths of an existential crisis, and her ideas often crystallize around a shape that becomes a motif for poetic emancipation.
Tomassini received an MFA in sculpture from the University of Texas at Austin in 2019. She has presented several solo exhibitions, namely at the Centre Clark, Montréal; the UMLAUF Museum, Austin; and CIRCA art actuel, Montréal. Her work has also been shown at Arsenal Contemporary, New York; the Tenerife Espacio de las Artes, Tenerife, Spain; and Artpace, San Antonio. In the past year, she was a resident artist at Est-Nord-Est Centre, Saint-Jean-Port-Joli, Québec, and at Rad’Art Project i, San Romano, Italy.
Wu Tsang is an award-winning filmmaker and visual artist. Tsang’s work crosses genres and disciplines, from narrative and documentary films to live performance and video installations. Tsang is a MacArthur “Genius” Fellow, and her projects have been presented at museums, biennials, and film festivals internationally. Awards include 2016 Guggenheim Fellow (Film/Video), 2018 Hugo Boss Prize Nominee, Creative Capital, Rockefeller Foundation, Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, and Warhol Foundation. Tsang received a BFA (2004) from the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) and an MFA (2010) from University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). Currently, Tsang works in residence at Schauspielhaus Zurich, as a theatre director with the collective Moved by the Motion.
VahMirè (Ludmila Steckelberg) is a Brazilian multidisciplinary artist. She has been based in Tiohtià:ke/Montréal since 2009. She holds a BA in Visual Arts (
Goias Federal University, Brazil, 2004), an MA in Museology (UdeM, 2013), and an MA in Visual and Media Arts (UQAM, 2022). Across a 17-year career, her artistic proposals have taken shape through installation, photography, video, performance, and media arts. Drawing on an aesthetic halfway between the natural and the supernatural, her work deals with the shift between presence and absence, and the transformations of identity caused by shifts in geographical context.
In 2017, she presented her work in the solo exhibition Siegen Colorem in Germany. That same year, she participated in the event The Desire That Crosses You at Eastern Bloc and traveled to China with her work for the exhibition Alternative Realities (Facts), at the Pingyao International Photography Festival. In 2018, she participated in the R, R & R Fair at MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels), as well as in the Maquis Festival presented at Cœur des sciences, UQAM. Since 2021, the artist has shown at the Valéria Pena-Costa workshop, Brazil; and at the Galerie Galerie, the Festival LatinArte; the Maison de la culture Claude-Léveillée; and the Mois de l’héritage latino-américain, all in Tiohtià:ke/Montréal. Her work is included in private collections, such as the prestigious Fernando Bueno Brazilian collection, as well as in museum collections, such as the Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro.
Winner of the 2020 Joshua Glover Memorial competition to create Toronto’s first monument to a person of African descent, 2020 Fellow of Monument Lab, and recipient of the Governor-General's Bronze Medal, Quentin VerCetty (Lindsay) is a multi-award-winning, multidisciplinary visual griot, artpreneur, educator, artivist, and an ever-growing interstellar tree. With a BFA from OCAD University (2017) and an MA in Art Education from Concordia University (2021), he is one of the world’s leading Afrofuturist a/r/tographers. His scholarly work looks at Afrofuturism as a teaching tool, coining the terms Sankofanology as a lens and Rastafuturism as a concept.
VerCetty’s creative works speculate on social issues and the imaginative futures of representation and preservation of the memories of people of African descent. VerCetty is one of the foundational leaders of the international Black Speculative Arts Movement (BSAM) and started the BSAM Canada Institute chapter in 2016 to help combat systemic anti-Black erasure and improve the creative industry for artists of African descent in Canada. VerCetty is the co-editor of the first Canadian Afrofuturism art anthology, Cosmic Underground Northside: An Incantation of Black Canadian Speculative Discourse and Innerstandings (2020), which includes the contributions of 30 writers and highlights works of over 100 Black Canadian artists, documenting the growing contemporary art movement of Afrofuturism in the country.
Through his work, he hopes to engage minds and inspire hearts to help to make the world a better place, not only for today, but for many tomorrows to come.
Nico Williams, ᐅᑌᒥᐣ (b. 1989) is Anishinaabe and member of Aamjiwnaang First Nation community. He is currently working in Tiohtià:ke/Montréal. He has a multidisciplinary, often collaborative, practice that is centred around sculptural beadwork.
Williams is an active member of the urban Indigenous Montréal Arts community, a board member of the Biennale d’art contemporain autochtone (Contemporary Native Art Biennial), and a member of the Contemporary Geometric Beadwork research team. He has taught workshops at the University of British Columbia; York University, Toronto; the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, NSCAD University, Halifax; the Indigenous Art Centre (CIRNAC), Gatineau; and Carleton University, Ottawa.
His work has been shown internationally and across Canada, including at Arsenal Contemporary Art, New York; the Art Museum at the University of Toronto; the Bill Reid Gallery, Vancouver; the MacKenzie Art Gallery, Regina; the Victoria Arts Council, Victoria; and several places in Tiohtià:ke/Montréal, such as the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, the PHI Foundation for Contemporary Art; and La Guilde.
The PHI Centre building comes to life with an interactive multimedia installation of a motion-activated river on its four-story windows on Saint-Pierre Street
An ongoing collection of contemporary artworks, accessible and free at the PHI Centre
Tune out the everyday noise and lose yourself in Montréal’s new immersive listening room
An exhibition comprising a British immersive installation and four award-winning Taiwanese virtual reality works that take us through personal, empirical and historical experiences
The artist stops in Montreal to present her latest tour Bless this Mess