Annette Fernando is a British-born, London-based artist with a French/Italian mother and Sri Lankan father. Born in 1991, she is a graduate of Central Saint Martins, with a BA in Fine Art. Fernando is this year’s Student Winner of the prestigious Jerwood Drawing Prize, which is the largest drawing competition in the UK, with 3,234 entrants this year.
Despite her young age, Fernando has already been in fourteen exhibitions, two of which are currently in the UK: The Jerwood Drawing Prize (touring the country at various venues) and Drawing Breath at the Graham Hunter Gallery in Baker Street, London. Her work is also being displayed at an international exhibition in France at La Porte Peinte Centre Pour Les Arts from October 2014 to December 2015.
Fernando reflects on a series of intimate drawings that she completed during her travels in 2012, the China Series. In an exclusive for Nee Hao Magazine, she provides her insights on her methods and inspirations behind the drawings.
The most interesting thing for me about the project was the people, which is why I chose to focus entirely on drawing them, leaving the backgrounds unfinished. Working primarily in the medium of drawing is a way of personalising my work and putting myself into it, with the material I use being especially significant. The biro is often seen as a throw away object, but to me it is a means to make work with the resources I have. Drawing is a self-taught practice, and when I was younger, I drew using any pen and paper I found. I love how this still applies today: I can just pick up a biro and create a powerful image.
Beijing particularly was a huge inspiration for me.
Beijing particularly was a huge inspiration for me, the highlight of my China travels being Beijing’s 798 Art District. At the time of my visit, Damien Hirst had his New Religion exhibition at ‘Asian Art Works’, and I was impressed by China’s contemporary art scene. I was also quite taken by Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art. It was there that I came across the works of Chinese artists Wang Ningde and Weng Fen, whom are now two of my favourite artists, influencing even my current works. The ‘China Series’ of drawings was a turning point for me and led me to the work I tend to be associated with: the Wait a Minute. It’s the Truth and the Truth Hurts series. These are ink drawings created from moments in film that I personally resonated with.
Fernando will be exhibiting the China Series again at the Angel Christmas Fair, Candid Arts Trust, London, 6th-7th of December 2014 and will also be exhibiting at the Barcelona International Art Fair, 12th-13th December, 2014 at the historic Casa Batlló, in Barcelona, Spain.