It’s not made of plaster or cast in metal. It’s a real banana — potassium-rich, unpeeled, and ripening in the window of Gallery Page and Strange.
It’s art, and it is the latest project by Halifax-based experimental artist Michael Fernandes.
“I started out with a really ripe banana, and I am going back to a really green banana,” said Fernandes about his 21-day project, appropriately called Banana Installation.
Nearly every day until July 4, he will go into the gallery and replace the banana with one slightly fresher than the day before.
“I am doing it in a subtle way, so that you may not even realize something is going on,” adds Fernandes, who buys his fruit from local grocery stores. He eats the bananas afterward.
To help follow the reverse ripening process, Fernandes has an information card used to grade bananas. It describes everything from uniform green (unripened), to overall yellow (ideal colour for sale), and yellow with brown spots (maximum nutrition).
“It’s about the colour and representation, and when it is ready for wholesale and best for eating,” he said, adding this idea of freshness reflects on how art can fall in and out of favour.
“I like that idea of freshness and I like that idea of cutting edge,” he said. “It’s about creating tension, creating challenge.”
Placing the banana on the window ledge also utilizes a space overlooked by most galleries, where only the walls and floors are used for paintings and sculptures.
Fernandes said sparking a conversation about art has been a recurring theme in his work. His past projects include Room of Fears at the Mount Saint Vincent University Art Gallery.
For that show, the gallery’s walls were painted black, and fears — submitted by the public — written on them in white. Each fear started with the phrase “I am afraid of.”
Fernandes said someone is interested in buying Banana Installation — the gallery tag lists a price of $2,500.