BANNERS FOR NEW EMPIRES / TALISMAN
Rajni Perera was born in Sri Lanka and lives and works in Toronto. She explores issues of hybridity, sacrilege, 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. They are flattened on the medium and made to act as a personal record of impossible discoveries. In her work she seeks to open and reveal the dynamism of these icons, both scripturally existent, self-invented and externally defined. She creates a subversive aesthetic that counteracts antiquated, oppressive discourse, and acts as a restorative force through which people can move out of outdated, repressive modes of being towards reclaiming their power.
BANNERS FOR NEW EMPIRES (2018)
Forms drawing upon scientific diagrams and science fiction to expand notions of existence in power, mythological deities pull apart any ideas of finite modes of being, and that occurs in only one dimension. The self-referential and self-generating mythologies behind the beings depicted on the banners can be discussed as alchemical representatives blipping between states of matter, moving parallel to our plane of existence. They serve to open our idea of how it is acceptable to live and be effective or accepted, or to thrive or fail. The works are a continuation of the Positive Forms series, combining dance dynamics with science fiction formal aesthetics to deliver a new inclusive power spectacle to the future of diaspora.
The double-throne Talisman, a collaboration with artist Yorgo Liapis, is at once a retelling of history, a fully charged object, and a speculative fiction sculpture. It attempts a rebalancing of energies and a space between binary identities and viewpoints, while at the same time referencing an incident between two cities at the height of the Egyptian empire of Luxor (then Thebes) and an offshoot, Amarna. Amarna and its attempts to set itself apart from Luxor suffered damnatio memoriae in a full erasure of the culture implemented by two monarchs to correct growing societal power imbalances perceived to be damaging to the civic structure of Luxor. Amarna was raided and demolished so badly that artifact rubble was discovered following an earthquake hitting Luxor in 1887, used to stuff pillars that had fallen and come apart. The piece Talisman seeks to give the cities a second chance to have a conversation and to be charged from the maker’s hands with power that eases or erases binaries.