The Canadian artist Ken Lum achieved recognition in the second half of the 1980s for his works juxtaposing photographic portraits and texts. His billboard-style presentation employs techniques from the world of advertising. Lum developed a successful formula of combining words and images, and a direct, confrontational manner of addressing the viewer. In the series “There Is No Place Like Home”; he shows a photographic image of a white woman with the slogan: “Wow, I really like it here. I don’t think I ever want to go home!”.
Another billboard in this series shows a Muslim woman with a headscarf with the text: “I’m never made to feel at home here. I don’t feel at home here.” The viewer is left to consider the connections between the words and images, which raise numerous questions, for example about the women’s identities: is the artist quoting these women or has he simply combined text and image in a random fashion? Are the situations constructed or taken from real life? Lum plays with issues concerning identity, race and gender.
Time. And Again.
Melly Shum hates her job
Ken Lum, 1990Permanent