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Em Laferrière

Mountains (from the series Ambigü)


Artist statement

Created as a response to the current and continued wave of anti-trans bills being introduced in the United States and across Canada, Ambigü aims to bring the viewer along a journey of reflection as they revisit archaic notions of gender identity and gender performance. 

Composed of larger-than-life portraits of trans men at different stages of their journey towards gender affirmation, the series looks to demystify the queer body in transition by immersing the viewer in the imagery. These bodily landscapes refute the objectification and exploitation of the trans and gender non-conforming community. Their presence in the image is monumental, inviting the queer body to not simply ask for space, but take it. By recreating poses resembling mountainous scenery, Laferrière hopes to create an immersive environment where bodies of all types are normalized as “found in nature.” The series is composed of 8 photographs, two of which are presented here. 

While spurred by creative rage in the face of continued stigma, this series acts not only as resistance but also as repair.

Bare rocky landscape on a sunny day. The image is in color.

Artist’s biography

Named at birth Nanayakkara, Em Laferrière is a non-binary bi-cultural visual artist and queer activist born in Colombo, Sri Lanka and raised in Montreal, Québec. Primarily working with photography and video, their work is minimalist and explores themes of identity, as well as economic and social structures.  They look to create imagery that compels viewers to rethink the status quo.  

Their work has been exhibited at Quartier des Spectacles (2022), Galerie Pierre-François Ouellet Art Contemporain (2022), Ada X (2022), Galerie VAV (2022) and Maison de la Culture Janine Sutto (2023). Their public art is currently exhibited on Boulevard St-Laurent till March 2024 as part of Projet Tabloïde. One of the ARTCH 2023 selected artists, they are currently working on new group shows at the FOFA gallery for January 2024 and at Le Livart for March 2024.

They earned their BBA from HEC Montréal in 2016 and their BFA from Concordia University in 2022.

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