Set after the end of white suprematism and ecological collapse, Perera’s ongoing series builds a complex, energised diaspora of climate refugees, habitats and survival mechanisms set against rapidly transforming landscapes. Perera’s travellers are imagined as ‘immigrant futures’, the artist’s science fiction metaphor for cross border resilience. The mutated bodies of the travellers indicate an evolutionary timescale thousands of years into the future, yet their humanoid shapes still connect them to earthly pasts. Escaping from a planet no longer able to support human life, and extending out of this world, and into space, each character occupies future worlds with a noble confidence and intelligence, interconnected through self and community knowledge maintained and valued as living culture.
Perera’s vivid artworks animate ideas and issues related to immigration, mutation, hybridity, ancestorship and futurity. Depicting diasporic identities and dream worlds, they emerge from her own reflections on our current reality – “As immigrant cultures get stripped away and homogenized in nation states — or that being a goal of the nation state as we know it — ideas around spacefaring and off-worlding stand in as a metaphor for immigrant resilience to retain our cultures, and survive and thrive.”
Rather than the European adventurers that typically dominate science fiction stories of spacefaring and off-worlding, Perera imagines the kinfolk of black and brown people as her brave protagonists. She casts migrants, so often characterized as aliens, as first explorers.