Sonia Boyce | Rajni Perera and Marigold Santos

PHI Foundation for Contemporary Art, Montréal

Public opening
Thursday, May 2, 2024
5:30 PM – 7:30 PM

May 3 — September 8, 2024

The PHI Foundation for Contemporary Art is pleased to unveil two exhibitions for the spring/summer 2024 season.


Making its North American debut, FEELING HER WAY, which was awarded the prestigious Golden Lion for Best National Participation at the 59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia in 2022, is an immersive installation by British Afro-Caribbean artist Sonia Boyce, consisting of video, sculpture, photography, posters and sound.

Taking over the gallery spaces located on 465 Saint-Jean Street, this monumental work invites us into a sumptuous visual and sonic polyphony that centers around the vocal performances and improvisation of four acclaimed female singers: Poppy Ajudha, Jacqui Dankworth MBE, Sofia Jernberg, and Tanita Tikaram. Initiated and organized by the PHI Foundation, this is the artist’s first major exhibition in North America and kicks off a tour of the work to venues in Canada. Following its presentation in Montréal, the exhibition will travel to the Art Gallery of Ontario as part of the Toronto Biennial of Art in September 2024, and to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in June 2025.

Sonia Boyce DBE RA (b. London, 1962) is an interdisciplinary artist and academic working across film, drawing, photography, print, sound, and installation. Boyce came to prominence in the early 1980s as a key figure in the burgeoning British Black Arts Movement with figurative pastel drawings and photo collages that addressed issues of race and gender in Britain. Since the 1990s, however, Boyce has shifted significantly to embrace a social practice that invites improvisation, collaboration, movement, and sound with other people. Working across a range of media, Boyce’s practice today is focused on questions of artistic authorship and cultural difference.

FEELING HER WAY by Sonia Boyce DBE RA was commissioned by the British Council for the 59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, 2022.

We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, and the SDC Vieux-Montréal for their support.

Rajni Perera and Marigold Santos: Efflorescence/The Way We Wake

Inhabiting the 451 Saint-Jean Street building, this two-person exhibition showcases recent painting and sculpture works produced by artists Rajni Perera and Marigold Santos from 2021 to 2024, and begins with the collaborative piece after which the show is named. In 2020, the PHI Foundation presented a major group show titled RELATIONS: Diaspora and Painting, which included the work of the two artists. When Perera visited the exhibition and encountered Santos’s paintings for the first time, she felt an instant, deeply resonant connection. This moment of mutual recognition sparked the beginning of a relationship that would manifest itself in Perera’s invitation to Santos to collaborate on a duo presentation at The Armory Show in New York, in September of 2023. As one of the very best offerings at this thirty-year-old art fair, it was the spark that ignited the organization of this exhibition.

Presenting over thirty works, this exhibition gives us the opportunity to appreciate each artist’s individual practices as well as their formal and conceptual affinities. What emanates throughout are vibrations of female power, that reverberate with instincts towards constant care, protection and the honouring of each of their personal stories and heritages. Through many entry points, Efflorescence/The Way We Wake invites us into a pantheon of kindred spirits.

Rajni Perera was born in Sri Lanka in 1985 and lives and works in Toronto. Perera seeks to open and reveal the dynamism of the icons, beings, and objects she creates by means of a subversive aesthetic that counteracts antiquated, oppressive discourse, and acts as a restorative force.

Marigold Santos was born in the Philippines, and immigrated with her family to Canada in 1988. She pursues an interdisciplinary art practice that examines notions of heritage, folklore, motherwork, and decolonization presented within the otherworldly. Her paintings, drawings, sculptures, and tattoo work explores self-hood and identity that embraces multiplicity, fragmentation, and empowerment, as informed by diasporic experiences.

PHI Foundation for Contemporary Art

Established in 2007 by Phoebe Greenberg, the PHI Foundation for Contemporary Art is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing impactful contemporary art experiences to the public. Our programming is international in scope, responsive to the local context, and free of charge to reinforce a commitment to accessibility and inclusion. The Foundation is driven by a desire to break down entrenched perceptions of what contemporary art is and who it is for, with the fundamental belief that art is for us all. The Foundation endeavours to make a home for art, artists and the public we serve, devoted to nurturing convivial exchanges that celebrate art as part of our everyday lives.

PHI Foundation logo

PHI Foundation for Contemporary Art
451 & 465 Saint-Jean Street
Montréal, Quebec, H2Y 2R5

Opening hours:
Wednesday to Friday: 12 PM to 7 PM
Saturday and Sunday: 11 AM to 6 PM
Free Admission

Accessibility: Partially Accessible


Media inquiries:
Myriam Achard
514-844-7474 #5104

Social media:
Facebook @fondationphi
Twitter @fondationphi
Instagram @fondationphi
Vimeo @fondationphi
YouTube @fondationphi

Image credits:
Sonia Boyce, Sofia wallpaper, 2022. Printed wallpaper. Dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist, APALAZZOGALLERY, and Hauser & Wirth / Rajni Perera and Marigold Santos, Efflorescence/The Way We Wake (detail), 2023. Polymer clay, styrofoam, paint, metallic powder, synthetic hair, pearls, steel, aluminum, floral foam, paper, plastic, 152.4 x 243.8 x 121.9 cm. Photo: Mikhail Mishin. Courtesy of the artists and Patel Brown Gallery