Born in Colombo Sri Lanka, Canadian artist Frances Ferdinands holds a Visual Arts degree from York University, an A.R.C.T. (Piano) from the Royal Conservatory of Music, and Education degree from University of Toronto.
Ferdinands has exhibited her work in solo and group exhibitions for over three decades. She has exhibited as far afield as London, New York, Paris, Bogota and Honolulu. She is the recipient of numerous Arts Council grants and her paintings are featured in two Artbooks: Rethinking Acrylic” (Northlight Books, 2008) and Acrylic Innovation (Northlight Books, 2010).
Her paintings are held in private and major corporate collections including the Standard Broadcasting Corporation, Franco-Nevada Mining, and Dresdner Bank of Canada. Museum collections include the Robert McLaughlin Gallery, the Judith & Norman Alix Gallery and the Royal Ontario Museum.
In 2015 and 2017 Ferdinands (under the auspices of an Ontario Arts Council Grant) returned to her homeland to be mentored in traditional arts and crafts - temple mural painting, mask making and bobbin lace making that are culturally at risk. This experience served to enrich Ferdinands’ understanding of her Sri Lankan heritage and her sense of place within it.
The experience also spawned new work including the “Atomizer” collection - a series of 10 works which the Royal Ontario Museum purchased.
She was commissioned by the Royal Canadian Mint to design the 2017 Diwali and the recently released 2019 Multi-Cultural commemorative gold coin.
Drawn to traditional floral patterns and motifs for their beauty and cultural significance,
she began to incorporate them into her work. Early in 2019 she traveled to Spain and Morocco to visit important Islamic sites and was awarded an (Ontario Arts Council) Chalmers Fellowship to travel to London England to study Islamic Patterning. The knowledge gained further expanded her focus on the exploration of visual cultural differences, belief systems and cross-cultural fertilization found in South Asian, Middle Eastern, and Western visual languages. The resulting paintings were shown in a Solo Exhibition at the Camden Image Gallery, London England in March 2020.