Temple Contemporary Presents Rajni Perera’s Beyond the Words of Earth

In this sponsored post, we hear about the exhibition at Temple Contemporary by Toronto-based artist Rajni Perera. The artist's science-fiction influenced works depict a "future where borders, imperialist capitalism and ecological collapse have birthed the survival of Travellers," a new species of humans. The exhibition is up through Mar. 3, 2023.

Award-winning Canadian artist’s exhibition explores notions of power through the imagery of science fiction in portraits, sculpture and objects

Temple Contemporary, the Tyler School of Art and Architecture’s center for exhibitions and public programs, presents the Philadelphia debut of an otherworldly inspired solo show by multi-disciplinary Toronto-based artist Rajni Perera, Beyond the Words of Earth.

The exhibition (December 2-March 3, 2023) invites viewers into 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.

A richly patterned painting by Rajni Perera from their show Beyond the Words of Earth at Temple Contemporary gallery depicting Travellers from the future on another planet.
Journey/Drought (2021), acrylic gouache, watercolor, gel pen, graphite, chalk and charcoal
on hand-marbled kozo paper, mounted on muslin. 35.4″ x 91.5.” National Gallery of Canada. Photo
courtesy of artist.

Through portraits, sculpture, and objects from Perera’s 2019 Traveller series, the artist simulates a natural history museum, presenting an evolutionary timescale thousands of years into the future. The exhibition portrays the phenomena of off-worlding — a concept derived from Perera’s extensive research on histories of colonization and how imperialism has impacted immigration. 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.

Beyond the Words of Earth is a story told in three dimensions—and demonstrates how mutation, adaptation, and reimagining technology impact our future while untangling metaphors of space-travel within immigrant life.

A brightly colored painting by Rajni Perera from their show Beyond the Words of Earth at Temple Contemporary gallery.
“Ancestor 1” (2019) mixed media on stretched paper 48” X 36” Courtesy of Patel Gallery, Toronto

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. The piece amplifies previous works that illustrate the history of Travellers, with fascinating stories of extinction and survival.

Jova Lynne, director of Temple Contemporary, said of curating the exhibition: “Rajni Perera’s multi-disciplinary practice 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 with the exhibition and consider what is possible in spite of the seemingly impossible times we are living in.”


Temple Contemporary
Tyler School of Art and Architecture, Temple University
2001 N 13th St, Philadelphia, PA 19122

Gallery Hours:
Wednesday-Thursday 12-8 pm
Friday-Saturday 11 am-6 pm

About the Tyler School of Art and Architecture
The Tyler School of Art and Architecture is a collaborative community of bold thinkers and
makers studying art, design and the built environment at Temple University that educates
and inspires students to be active participants in society with the highest aspirations for
creative and social achievement, individual expression, scholarly discovery and innovation.