Efflorescence/The Way We Wake | Find them where they are

The PHI Foundation offers us the gift of an exhibition that brings together Rajni Perera and Marigold Santos, two magnificent artists whose parallel practices intersect with a bang


On paper, the proposition is a bit intimidating. It’s about a lot of things that influence the work of Rajni Perera and Marigold Santos, a complex, very cerebral approach that brings them together in art for a long time and now at the PHI Foundation. We feared (quite honestly) of being excluded, of not understanding anything.

That’s not the case at all. The intentions are clear.

Efflorescence/The Way We Wake addresses femininity and feminism, exile, starting over and awakening, obviously, as the name suggests. “There is something incredibly powerful about recognizing yourself in someone else. This feeling of being perceived and understood, of finding a deep connection with another person, is both reassuring and inspiring,” explains Cheryl Sim, executive director and curator of the PHI Foundation for Contemporary Art, in a presentation. of the exhibition.

The artists


Artist Rajni Perera

Rajni Perera was born in Sri Lanka and lived there until she was 9 years old. She now lives and works in Toronto. She regularly uses natural materials, cotton, linen, tea, clay, and often addresses deities, myths and popular representations. With this exhibition, we note an evolution in the form, in his recent works. Less vibrant colors, a more organic, dreamlike expression. This is part of her journey, explains the artist, who specifies that she freed herself from a certain commercial pressure that she was under to continue producing the same style.

Marigold Santos has lived in Canada for over 30 years, after spending part of her childhood in the Philippines. She completed her master’s degree in visual arts at Concordia University. His practice includes drawing, painting, engraving, sculpture and tattooing. She also writes poetry, which is featured in this exhibition – which contains a quadriptych decorated with traditional Philippine clothing elements.


The artist Marigold Santos

“I am in the most productive and joyful phase of my work,” confides Marigold Santos. Joyful, because I love my role as a mother and I like to integrate it into my art, with my other roles, that of an artist and also include my heritage. It all mixes together. »

The exhibition

This is not the first time that these two artists have found themselves together at the PHI Foundation: they were part of a joint exhibition, in 2020, about art and the diaspora, a theme that is their Dear. This time, the center belongs to them, in a harmonious ballet. On four floors, the small rooms successively present the two artists together, then one or the other, solo, in a perfectly choreographed pas de deux which ensures that we perceive the complementarity of their approaches, but also their singularities . All the works are recent and unpublished, including this joint creation which opens the exhibition.


Efflorescence/The Way We Wake is definitely one of the exhibitions to see this spring, summer or both.

Efflorescence/The Way We Wake, which opens the exhibition, is a mystical feminine creature whose arms are detached from its body, which exposes its penis, its buds, its flowers and its horns. Among others.

This is the second time that the work, created in Montreal, at the Darling Foundry, has been presented – its first release was in New York, but in a much less flattering space, say its creators.

Here, we have left space for the work of Perera and Santos, but also for the visitors who are given the optimal conditions to appreciate the creation. We have air, time, calm.

Several of the works were created in recent months, including Wormthis large sculpture by Rajni Perera (which has teeth and hair) and which inhabits a corner of the exhibition hall.

We note, in this piece, but as in all of Rajni Perera’s work, a duality: there is both strength and fragility. They are sometimes enveloping and frightening at the same time.

How to explain ? “I think it’s in me,” says the artist, encountered at the heart of her works. “I scare myself constantly,” she continues. We are all like that. This dark side that we have is also part of my work. »

The place

The PHI Center should not be confused with the PHI Foundation. Efflorescence/The Way We Wake is presented at 451, rue Saint-Jean, in spaces of the Foundation where entry is free, at all times. This is ideal for leaving commonplaces and approaching other forms of representation that we will understand or not; love or hate. And it’s perfect.

The Foundation – just like the Center, which is located nearby in Old Montreal – is an inclusive exhibition space and everyone is welcome. Already, it gives the best dispositions to discover, tame, accept, reject. With Efflorescence/The Way We Wake, we accept wholeheartedly.

Rajni Perera and Marigold Santos: Efflorescence/The Way We Wakeuntil September 8 at the Phi Foundation

Visit the exhibition page

reference: www.lapresse.ca

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