Firi Rahman Sri Lankan , b. 1990

Firi Rahman is a multidisciplinary artist whose work considers the relationships that people and endangered species have with their environments. He spotlights the threads of multiple historical narratives running through Slave Island, the location where he grew up and now resides, which makes it a unique space in Colombo’s urban historical identity. He has forged a new collective project We Are From Here in Slave Island, which highlights a deeply interconnected community finding its homebase threatened by gentrification for state and corporate interests. The project focuses on mobilising a creative peace-making movement that would help participants and beneficiaries alike to socially engage in their own unique realities through the medium of art. His work has questioned the rise of endangered species in Sri Lanka, and has explored the similarities between exploitation and cultural tradition. He is particularly interested in the interactions between animals and urban environments, and the responsibility societies share in protecting biodiversity. In his most recent series, Enclosed, Firi grants us intimate access to where his societal activism stems from. While these examinations were previously presented in a hyperrealist pointillism, the current showcase is a significant departure in terms of narrative and technique.

Firi Rahman was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka in 1990. He followed an art and design course at the Foundation of Art and Design, City and Guilds at Manchester College, United Kingdom. He began working with Saskia Fernando Gallery in 2015 when he presented his first solo exhibition titled 'Unconventional Beauty'. In the same year he participated at Colomboscope: Shadowscenes and presented his work at the Sri Lanka Archive of Contemporary Art, Design and Architecture in Jaffna, Sri Lanka.


In 2016 he presented his second solo exhibition titled 'Prediction Extinction' at Saskia Fernando Gallery.  His works were selected for both the Wings Exhibition at the JDA Perera Gallery and the Colombo Art Biennale: Conceiving Space. In the same year he joined the project Building Bridges as a facilitator.


He was selected by curator Natasha Ginwala to participate in Colomboscope in 2017 and 2019. His works were presented at two large scale exhibitions in 2018, namely the Human Rights Exhibition curated by Chandrgauptha Thenuwara at JDA Perera Gallery and Embodying Power curated by Sandev Handy at the Sapumal Foundation.


In 2018 he co-founded the We Are From Here Project, a community based art project. He  also worked with marine biologist, Asha de Vos, in an art residency on a research boat to learn about the shifting baselines and the marine ecosystem. 


His works belong to private collections in Sri Lanka, Switzerland, India, United Kingdom, and USA.