Before and After the electric car

Michael Fernandes

January 1 to March 31, 2021

At home residency
@beforeandaftertheelectriccar on Instagram

Virtual talk: Michael Fernandes and Jason St-Laurent — April 14, 2021 at 5pm EST

Presentation in English, on Zoom
Free — RSVP required

RSVP to the virtual talk here


Hope you are keeping well

Nice talking with you on the phone

You inspired my interest in garlic

I finished planting 350 hardneck cloves and covered them over with straw

I love garlic too

Hope someday to reach a thousand

Now the virtual residency

Title: Before and After the electric car

Daily postings of online images and texts

This work is intended to serve as a marker for what I consider to be relevant during the pandemic.

Perhaps this is only wishful thinking

A risk on my behalf

And like everything else, what I end up doing is always a talking

A thinking out loud with myself




October 2020


From his home in East Dover near Halifax, artist Michael Fernandes shares his daily thoughts with us in the form of images and short texts in the context of an “at home” residency. Intrigued by the poetry of everyday life, by the art that emerges from the maritime environment where he has resided for more than three decades, and by the immediacy of improvised creation, Fernandes seeks to establish a diaristic dialogue with himself, as well as with a larger virtual audience.

Before and After the electric car (Avant et Après la voiture électrique) is a project in which Fernandes witnesses and highlights the subtle moments when art merges with everyday life, so as to broaden the parameters of art as a discipline. By his way of working—a methodology that rather resembles that of an archaeologist, a collector, a storyteller, or a philosopher—Fernandes highlights the fact that art is for him a way of life, a deep curiosity, a form of enchantment that permeates the ordinary.

The artist

Michael Fernandes is a Trinidad-born artist who came to Canada in the 1960s to study at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. His works often rely on polemical constructs like “us and them” to provoke a self-recognition on the part of the viewer. His installations have a sense of improvisation and literalism, which results in an intimacy and directness and opposes the packaged, the streamlined and the simulated. One could say—at least metaphorically—that his work is in the first person, present tense, and that it stands against facade and spectacle in favour of activism. 

At NSCAD, where he has taught since 1973, Michael is known for the subtlety of his pedagogical methods. He has exhibited extensively across Canada and abroad. In 2020, Fernandes was the recipient of the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts.


Text by Craig Leonard



Teddy better than Dorian

Shambles on the beach

Bumper crop of seaweed

Ol’ dug well complete


With attention to nothing extra. Nothing obvious. Not what you think. Everything different. Almost equal. Everything just the same.


In snowy steps

near garlic

a wheelbarrow turned



Something happened, nothing happened. About to happen, very funny. Makes me cry. Makes sense. Makes a difference. Just now, last week. In the kitchen. In the news. 


In the garden 

while asleep 

by the beach, low 

tide, talking circles 

round a castle keep


Some boredom. No boredom. Known boredom about stories about stories about families about children about games about words about listening.





Little Bird



Always rolls with Greek salad. Mediation and a fight. Ornate playing never practicing. Cacophonous routines and jamming returns like a nimble-footed backboard. 



and enjambments

keeping line breaks

only shadows


Same view but different rhythms. Same rhythm, different views. Sucking mangoes. Sucking face. Pocket drawings and random arrows. Glorious AN-O-NY-MI-TY behind a bayside tree.


Let’s swim 

in the Pitch Lake?

You can’t do that, man.

Try over here. It’s cool 

and deep, uncommonly