Temple Contemporary Presents "Beyond the Words of Earth" by Rajni Perera

Temple Contemporary proudly presents Beyond the Words of Earth, the Philadelphia debut of multi-disciplinary Toronto-based artist Rajni Perera (December 2, 2022 - March 3, 2023). An opening reception will be held on Friday, December 2, from 5-8 p.m. 

This exhibition invites viewers into the commemoration of a future where borders, imperialist capitalism and ecological collapse have birthed the survival of Travellers – a humanoid species whose multi-ancestral technologies have allowed them to recreate planetary and interplanetary relations.

The exhibition presents portraits, sculptures, and objects from Perera’s 2019 Traveller series. These works are exhibited to simulate a natural history museum, indicating an evolutionary timescale thousands of years into the future. The Travellers’ humanoid shapes still connect them to earthly pasts and honor the noble confidence and intelligence that has maintained their interconnection through self and community knowledge. The presentation engages with the phenomena of off-worlding–a concept that is derived from  Perera’s extensive research on histories of colonization and the nature in which imperialism has impacted immigration. It highlights the curious notion of sovereignty across the universe.   

Beyond the Words of Earth is a story in three dimensions—and demonstrates how mutation, adaptation, and reimagining technology impact our future while untangling metaphors of space-travel within immigrant life. The exhibition features a new major work by Perera titled A Starry-eyed Subspecies, a sculptural piece featuring a life-size Traveller and Post-Horse traversing a mutated and poisoned landscape left behind by greedy and wealthy corporate nations.  This work will be presented alongside other works that illustrate the history of Travellers. Please join us as we step into the future, and discover the fascinating stories of extinction and survival, and learn about some of the features that sets  Travellers apart from other species.   

On curating Beyond the Words of Earth, Jova Lynne, Director of Exhibitions and Public Programs says, "Rajni Perera's multi-disciplinary practices embodies the spirit of possibility. Her work illuminates how art is a catalyst for imagination and community care. I am excited for visitors to engage Beyond the Words of Earth and consider what is possible in-spite of the seemingly impossible times we are living in.” 

Beyond the Words of Earth is presented by Temple Contemporary at the Tyler School of Art and Architecture. This exhibition is curated by Lynne with curatorial assistance from Allyson J Church, Amy Shindo, Will Toney and Adam Blumberg. Temple Contemporary is the visionary center for exhibitions and public programs at the Tyler School of Art and Architecture. 

Exhibit photos courtesy Temple Contemporary