I’m highlighting this month Chinese-Canadian artist Ken Lum: born and raised in the western Canadian city of Vancouver; he began studying chemistry at university before switching completely to art. Today, not only does he continue to make art, but he also comments about the contemporary and historical nature of art and about how art and society continuously shapes and informs each other. All of Lum’s pieces featured this month are located outdoors and freely accessible to the public at zero cost.
These look like wooden shacks along a creek or small river. In 2010, Lum completed a sculptural work commissioned by the City of Vancouver next to the four-star Shangri-La Hotel, as a “reminder of contested local histories.” Meant only as a temporary display, the piece was eventually removed. In 2012, the District of North Vancouver purchased Lum’s piece; a modified smaller version of the sculptural piece is installed at Maplewood Flats, in the very same area where shacks had once populated the mudflats along the northern shores of Burrard Inlet. Represented are houses once owned by artist Tom Burrows, writer Malcolm Lowry, and OrcaLab founder Dr. Paul Spong.
I made the photo above on 3 Jul 2021 with a Fujifilm X70 fixed-lens prime (18.5/28mm) with digital teleconverter set to 33/50mm. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins DOT com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-llf.
Honouring the surname
In the mid- to late-1970s, our parents took us to single-screen movie theatres with names like Olympia, Golden Harvest, and Shaw for cinema night to watch movies made in Hong Kong. There were dramas; some high on the melodrama and low on character. Some were historic-period pieces, and there were kung-fu movies for which Dad passed his love to me.
There’s nothing quite like seeing a kung-fu action sequence on a big screen. I was mesmerized the first time I laid eyes on a memorable fight scene set in Rome’s Colosseum, that epic scene observed by little stone dragons between “Little Dragon” himself, Bruce Lee, and Chuck Norris’ character in the 1972 film “The Way of the Dragon“. As a kid, I was proud to have had the same surname as this Bruce fellow, and memories of seeing his on-screen characters prevailing in fights have stuck over time (e.g., “Boards don’t hit back.”)
Tragically, Bruce and his son, Brandon, died too young. I’m certain when I was a teen that I asked where Bruce Lee was buried; my parents didn’t know and in pre-internet days, it was more of a challenge to find those answers. But the mystery has long been solved: Bruce Lee and his son, Brandon, lay side by side in Lake View Cemetery in Seattle’s Capitol Hill.
Despite multiple visits to the city in years past, this particular return trip to Seattle has been decades in the making for a chance to honour a part of my childhood and a part of my heritage. When I find the Lees, my arrival means another answer has been quietly realized. On a crisp bright autumn morning under blue skies, I feel my father’s spirit with me; he never had the chance to come to this cemetery. My lips move without voice, a prayer I utter into the ether, pushing for hope to reach him. Because I know now that this, is also for my Dad.
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