Contemporary Exhibit By Design Students at the ROM

Tuesday, November 19, 2019 - 5:30pm to 8:30pm

Contemporary Exhibit By Design Students at the ROM on Tuesday November 19th, from 5:30- 8:30 pm. Admission free.

The freedom of personal identity is a powerful tool. It’s also a human right; one that people in positions of power sometimes try to devalue or eliminate. As a group of students, they question why identity is sometimes such a threat.

Reflecting on both their own ethic and cultural identities, and Québec‘s recent secular government legislation Bill 21, the students have designed and made their own ‘identity headwear’ and displays, and will discuss identity with the visiting public in their first and third floor installations at the ROM. You can pick up their display scavenger hunt map once inside the ROM.

Please join us!

Venue & Address: 
Royal Ontario Museum 100 Queens Park, Toronto, ON M5S 2C6

Emma Nishimura in 'Being Japanese Canadian: reflections on a broken world'

photo on cloth rolled into a ball
Saturday, February 2, 2019 - 10:00am to Monday, August 5, 2019 - 6:00pm

Encounter personal perspectives on the exile, dispossession, and internment of Japanese Canadians during the 1940s through a series of artworks interspersed throughout the Sigmund Samuel Gallery of Canada. This installation features contemporary artists who experienced this history first hand, and those who grapple with their parents and grandparents’ experiences. Being Japanese Canadian prompts us to reflect on the long-lasting ramifications of this historical Canadian injustice, and what it means to be Canadian today.

Exhibition Highlights

Being Japanese Canadian artists include:

Lillian Michiko Blakey is a third generation Japanese Canadian, based in Newmarket, whose family came to Ontario in 1952. The first in her family to graduate from university, she became a teacher, educational consultant, and professional artist. She is the past President of the Ontario Society of Artists, with paintings in the collections of the Government of Ontario and the Nikkei National Museum in Burnaby, BC.

David L. Hayashida is Sansei, a third-generation Canadian living in Kings Point, Newfoundland and Labrador. He is a ceramic artist who works with his partner, Linda G. Yates. Their inspiration is drawn from a wide range of interests – Newfoundland history, climate change, whales, and geology. Recently David has begun exploring the personal impact of his family’s Japanese Canadian history.

Emma Nishimura uses diverse media to address ideas of memory and loss rooted within family stories and inherited narratives. Her work includes traditional etchings, archival pigment prints, drawings, and installations. Found in public and private collections, these have been exhibited nationally and internationally. Based in Toronto, Emma teaches at the University of Guelph and OCAD University.

Steven Nunoda is a multidisciplinary artist based in Calgary, Alberta. His practice centres on extended research projects dealing with questions of material-as-metaphor, family life, culture and place, memory and identity. His sculpture and installation work incorporate miniatures, woodcarvings, constructions, digital imaging and output, text, and time-based strategies.

Laura Shintani is a multimedia artist based in Toronto, who believes the viewpoint of the audience is key.  She is interested in seeing people embrace the cycle of creativity – playing, problem solving, and reflecting. She hopes her audiences might be inspired to artistic expression and make a difference. No topic is taboo. Shintani encourages others to follow ideas that garner goodwill.  

Norman Takeuchi has very early memories of the interior of British Columbia, where his parents were forced to relocate from Vancouver during World War II. A graduate of the Vancouver School of Art, Takeuchi went to London, England in 1967, to concentrate on painting with support from the Canada Council. He left an exhibition design career in 1996 to focus on art. Takeuchi lives in Ottawa, Ontario.

Marjene Matsunaga Turnbull is a second-third generation Japanese Canadian, Nisei-Sansei. Well aware of prejudice while growing up, Turnbull focuses on the anger and hurt of racism in her sculptures. Turnbull tries to resolve cultural conflict within and without Japanese Canadian society in her work – to present ethnic, social, historical, and political commentary. Turnbull lives in Onoway, Alberta. 

Yvonne Wakabayashi spent her early childhood in an internment camp with her family in the interior of British Columbia. Returning to post-war Vancouver, she earned a Master’s degree in Education and spent many years as a textile teacher while developing her art practice. Wakabayashi’s work blends ancient Japanese cultural traditions with modern ideas. Wakabayashi lives in Burnaby, British Columbia. 


Venue & Address: 
Level 1, Sigmund Samuel Gallery of Canada, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, ON

DF Grad Students create immersive installation, “The Living Room,” for ROM Family Camera

Barbara with her kids Naina and Arjun, and grandma (daddi) Indira, who is visiting from India. Anil Dewan, Niagara Falls. Ontari
Wednesday, May 3, 2017 - 1:00pm

Source: Royal Ontario Museum New Release,  Friday, April 28, 2017 from:

TORONTO, April 28, 2017 – The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is pleased to announce the opening of The Family Camera, an original ROM exhibition that explores how family photographs reflect and shape our experiences of migration and our sense of identity. On display from Saturday, May 6, to Monday, October 29, 2017, in the Museum’s Roloff Beny Gallery, the exhibition is part of the ROM’s Canada 150 year-long celebration. The Family Camera is one of the primary exhibitions of the 2017 Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival.

“The Family Camera exhibition uses a visual lens to bring personal, everyday stories of the Canadian experience into focus, making this exhibition a fitting way to celebrate our 150th year,” says Josh Basseches, ROM Director & CEO. “This exhibition highlights the ROM’s vital role as a place of discovery and new research, where the public is engaged as active participants in the museum experience.”

The exhibition examines the enduring connection between migration and family photography. In Canada, migration is central to family history, whether recent or in the past and whether over short or long distances. From departures and arrivals to everyday moments and milestones, family photographs depict our journeys and our deep-rooted need for connection. The exhibition considers the political, social and technological factors that reconfigure families, including dislocation, marriage equality, and social media. The Family Camera also explores how these factors transform the photographs we capture and how we share them.
Almost every photograph in this evocative exhibition comes from a Canadian home. As a result, it demonstrates the familiar and unexpected ways that family photographs define our sense of self, family, community, and nation.

“The Family Camera encourages visitors to think differently about family photographs. Rather than just reflecting or illustrating the past, family photographs are active agents that continue to shape our memories and experiences and define a sense of family. The exhibition examines family photographs as a cultural practice,” says Dr. Deepali Dewan, the Dan Mishra Curator of South Asian Art & Culture, ROM.

The Family Camera is a partnership with the Art Gallery of Mississauga (AGM), with works on display at both venues. Over two hundred objects are featured in the exhibition, including photographs, vintage cameras and ephemera. These objects have been collected through a public archive project launched in 2016 by The Family Camera Network. This multi-year research project includes six partner institutions supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). Canadians can participate in the ongoing project until the end of the year and contribute to the exhibition through digital and social media. The Family Camera also includes work by contemporary artists Deanna Bowen and Jeff Thomas on display at the ROM, and Dinh Q. Lê (at the AGM).  An immersive installation, “The Living Room,” created by graduate students at OCAD University, uses projection-mapping technology to explore the power of storytelling through the sharing of family photographs.

“The ROM is renowned for its ability to showcase important works throughout our history in new and innovative ways, and The Family Camera is another great example of this,” says Eleanor McMahon, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. “The use of family photographs from diverse communities highlights the cultural fabric of our province and our diversity, which is something to celebrate in our 150th year. I’m delighted that the Ontario150 program is supporting this unique exhibition that will help ensure our artistic and cultural legacies are treasured by future generations.”

Exhibition Details

The Family Camera is divided into several sections. Cameras for the Family features a timeline of cameras made for the amateur photographer. The timeline includes early box cameras preloaded with film and costing only one dollar, as well as digital cameras and cellphones that have made taking and sharing digital photographs increasingly easy. State of Family considers the ways state policy determines which photos can be taken, who gets recognized as a family, and therefore what a family photograph looks like.
For example, the 1923 Chinese Exclusion Act barred the families of Chinese men who had come as labourers from joining them in Canada, and until 1996, Indian residential schools split up Indigenous families. Snapshots Don’t Grow Up presents conventional ways of photographing children, such as birthdays or Christmas, that camera advertisements encouraged, showing parents how to compose “Kodak moments”. These three sections provide context for the largest grouping, On the Move, which explores family photographs in a world of increasing mobility. The images in this section capture people before, during, or after a move. They also show how photographs travel across distances, through the mail or social media, as a way to strengthen familial bonds. This section includes a wall of photographs taken at Niagara Falls over the last hundred years, showing how even tourist images bring together different forms of mobility and help families assert a sense of national belonging.

The Art Gallery of Mississauga features a unique section of the exhibition that runs from May 4 to August 27, 2017.   Missing Chapters examines family photographs that are lost, abandoned, don’t survive, or don’t exist. The work “Lost Photographs” invites visitors to contribute stories of “missing chapters” in their own family archives.

The exhibition has been curated by Deepali Dewan (lead), Jennifer Orpana, Thy Phu, Julie Crooks, and Sarah Bassnett, with the assistance of Sarah Parsons and Silvia Forni.

Visit here for full exhibition details.
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Media Contact
Wendy Vincent, Bilingual Publicist

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Family Camera at the ROM - Digital Futures Graduate Student Projects

picture of Digital Furtures graduate students
Wednesday, December 21, 2016 - 5:00am

At Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum in mid December, students from the Digital Futures Graduate Program course “Special Topic: Family Camera at the ROM” presented their proposals for interactive installations to become part of the upcoming Sesquicentennial Exhibition “The Family Camera” which will launch at the ROM in May 2017.  

“The Family Camera” will examine ideas surrounding the contemporary Canadian family through vernacular photography and the changing definitions of family, experiences of migration, memory and mementos. "The Family Camera" project asks the questions: What are family photographs? How do they shape our memories? How do they mediate our experiences of migration? And what can they tell us about about our national histories? 

Three student groups presented their interactive proposals to an esteemed audience of curators and ROM staff members connected to the upcoming exhibition. The class presented on three self defined themes: family photography and the domestic space, family photography as performance, and family photos in the private and public spheres. 

This course, which continues in the winter to develop and execute the interactive exhibition theme chosen by the ROM, is led by Dr. Martha Ladly, and “The Family Camera” curators Dr. Jennifer Orphana and Dr. Julie Crooks. This class is also mentored by lead curator Dr. Deepali Dewan and ROM Exhibition Manager Steven Laurie. Participating students are Samaa Ahmed, Bijun Chen, Margarita Castro, Mudit Ganguly, Afaq Ahmed Karadia, Annette Mangaard, Ania Medrek, Katie Micak, Natasha Mody, Maya Wilson- Sanchez, and April Xie.

Find out more about "The Family Camera" at and

For more on the Digital Futures program: