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Fig. 1

Ken Lum, Skateboarder (detail), from the series World Portrait, 1991, acrylic on canvas with silk screen prints. Collection of Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, Vancouver, B.C.

Ken Lum’s acclaimed photography comes to The Image Centre

Apr. 9, 2024

Known for his often-humorous approach, the artist uses photography to investigate the relationship between language and representation in public space.  

Public opening: Wednesday, May 8, 2024 | 6–8 pm
Exhibition on view: May 9–August 3, 2024  

Toronto, Canada — The Image Centre (IMC) at Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) is pleased to announce the upcoming exhibition featuring renowned Canadian artist Ken Lum, winner of the prestigious 2023 Scotiabank Photography Award. The exhibition will take place from May 9 to August 3, 2024, in The Image Centre's Main Gallery, curated by Gaëlle Morel. 

"Ken Lum’s conceptual work offers a unique blend of humour and critical inquiry,” says IMC Exhibitions Curator Gaëlle Morel. “Through his large-format photographic tableaux, which often combine image and text, he invites audiences to confront pressing political and social concerns. Lum is also interested in creating immersive experiences in his exhibitions, and this show will be no exception.”  

Celebrating Lum's illustrious career, the exhibition includes signature series alongside new works, offering visitors unique insight into the artist's creative evolution. 

Lum's conceptualist approach is informed by cultural studies, semiology, and political philosophy. Through his impactful practice, Lum interrogates the relationship between language and representation in public spaces, challenging prevailing social hierarchies and dominant narratives surrounding identity, class, and gender. The exhibition promises to provoke thoughtful reflection about, and critical engagement with, contemporary societal dynamics.

Highlights of the exhibition include:

  • Over 25 pieces from across Lum's distinguished career, providing a comprehensive overview of his artistic trajectory;
  • Selections from the acclaimed series Image/Repeated Text, featuring photographic portraits juxtaposed with concise, slogan-like written texts, produced between 1994 and 2023;
  • Works from the World Portrait series, showcasing everyday activities and social formations in public urban spaces through casual black and white snapshots;
  • Portraits from the Schnitzel Company series, a satirical exploration of corporate culture through the lens of a fictional schnitzel company's "employee of the month" program.

Ken Lum, born in Canada and currently serving as Chair of Fine Arts at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Design, has garnered international recognition for his diverse artistic practice. His work has been showcased at venues and events worldwide, including Documenta 11, the Venice Biennale, and the Whitney Biennial.

In conjunction with the exhibition, The Image Centre will host a series of public programs, including an artist talk with Ken Lum on May 6, an opening reception on May 8, and a special exhibition tour with Gaëlle Morel and Dan Adler on May 15. For more information about the exhibition and related programming, please visit 


Ken Lum (Canada/USA, b. 1956) works in various media, including painting, sculpture, installation, photography, and public art. He is currently Chair of Fine Arts at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design, Philadelphia. Lum’s art has been included in major exhibitions such as Documenta 11 (Germany), the Venice Biennale (Italy), the São Paulo Biennial (Brazil), and the Whitney Biennial (USA). He has received a Guggenheim Fellowship (1999), the Hnatyshyn Foundation Visual Arts Award (2007), the Gershon Iskowitz Prize (2019), and the Governor-General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts (2020). He was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2017. Lum is represented by Magenta Plains, New York, and Royale Projects, Los Angeles.

Scotiabank Photography Award: Ken Lum is organized by The Image Centre, presented by Scotiabank, in partnership with the CONTACT Photography Festival. 

The Image Centre
33 Gould Street
Toronto, Ontario M5B 1W1
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About The Image Centre
The Image Centre (IMC) is Canada’s leading institution dedicated to the exhibition, research and collecting of photography. Established in 2012 at Toronto Metropolitan University, in the heart of the city, the IMC welcomes visitors to explore the intersection of photography and culture. Through compelling exhibitions and engaging public programming, the IMC showcases work by emerging, renowned, and anonymous photographers, past and present. With a growing collection of nearly 400,000 photographic objects and an innovative scholarly research program, the IMC is also a vibrant hub for the preservation and study of photography. For more information, visit 

About Toronto Metropolitan University
Toronto Metropolitan University, formerly known as Ryerson University, is Canada’s leader in innovative, career-oriented education. Urban, culturally diverse and inclusive, the University is home to more than 46,000 students, including 2,900 Master’s and PhD students, 4,000 faculty and staff, and 225,000 alumni worldwide. For more information, visit

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For media inquiries, please contact: 

Kristen Dobbin, The Image Centre