A view of the W.E.B. Du Bois–inspired wall mural, Mapping Courage, by Carl Willis Humphrey, at the corner of South St and S 6th St in Philadelphia. Photo by Ken Lum for Canadian Art.

After years of being Vancouver's golden boy, Ken Lum moved to Philadelphia this summer to become the director of undergraduate Fine Arts at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design -- no doubt a great change for the man responsible for such quintessentially "Vancouver" works as the beloved East Van cross (or officially: Monument for East Vancouver).

About departing from a place that has been the backdrop, strata, and even thematic anchor of a great percentage of his work, Lum said in an inteview with the Globe and Mail, “I’m not leaving Vancouver in a huff. I’ve lived in other places throughout my life, so I’m sure maybe in five years, I’ll come back to Vancouver. I don’t feel like I ever leave Vancouver anyway. Even if I wanted to, Vancouver’s always in me.”

For now, he offers us a consideration of these changes in the first installment of a new web column he will be writing for Canadian Art about his life and work from this renewed perspective. The writing is quietly observant, and turns to simple, honest introspection amongst personal and historical anecdote. It is well worth a read; we look forward to Lum's future musings on his new American life.