2023 has proven to be a dynamic year for Kumkum Fernando. In April, the talented Sri Lankan artist earned a distinctive position among a select group tasked with crafting monumental sculptures for Coachella's triumphant return to Indio, California. More recently, Fernando embarked on a creative journey with Jonathan LeVine Projects, resulting in a captivating series titled "Post Colonial Rainbow Punks," featuring a diverse array of intergalactic adventurers.
In collaboration with ArtPrize, Fernando is presently unveiling his newest collection of robotic sculptures within a solo exhibition aptly named "The Lost Mystics." True to his artistic essence, narrative storytelling remains a fundamental element in his work. In his own words, Fernando explains, "The melancholic personas of the Lost Mystics are in pursuit of significance, traversing time and space, adrift in a quest for elusive truths. They teem with yearning and unfulfilled desires. Some shed tears, while others dare to dream, all the while grappling with the tumultuous uncertainty of their existence."
At first glance, his sculptures exude a youthful charm, reminiscent of the colossal robotic toys of youth, magnified in scale to instill awe in both young and old alike. Each sculpture is painstakingly crafted from a mosaic of historical artifacts, incorporating remnants of Saigon's French colonial architecture, Sri Lankan masks, 20th-century American board games, and elements drawn from Buddhist and Hindu folklore. Aesthetically, Fernando masterfully blends the old and the new, the tribal and the futuristic, by ingeniously repurposing these materials into eccentric robotic figures brimming with the essence of history.
For those eager to experience "The Lost Mystics" firsthand, the exhibition is currently on display at the ArtPrize Clubhouse in Grand Rapids, MI, with its captivating showcase set to run until October 1.