Kumkum Fernando's Robot Sculptures Land at Coachella

The first time the festival is representing a South Asian artist for its installations.

Art
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Over the past few weekends, influencers and music lovers from around the world descended in Indio for the return of Coachella. Like all major festivals these days, there are a number of elements that have come to be just as intrinsic to the experience, from the satellite events to the massive artworks on display. This year, Kumkum Fernando showcased three towering robot sculptures that served as guardians to the vibes below.

“People refer to my artworks as robots because they have a very robotic form,” Fernando said in a statement. “To be fair, at first, most of them were meant to be robots from other dimensions, but now it’s more of a story to me.” In the past, these stories have range everything from patterns found in Persian rugs, etchings across a temple ruin, or Vietnamese lacquering techniques.

As the first South Asian artist to be commissioned for Coachella’s main stage installations, Fernando, who was born in Sri Lanka and now resides in Vietnam, sought to fuse the many inspirations he finds on his travels — namely, Tibetan and Hindu temples, as well as folklore from his youth. Each of the three sculptures on view scaled as high as 65 to 70 feet — easily his largest works to date.

On the opposite coast, Lauren Halsey fuses ancient Egypt with South Central in a monumental new installation.

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