We Are Light Rays: Sook-Yin Lee

We Are Light Rays: Sook-Yin Lee

Emerging from a filmmakerʼs imagination, the exhibition explores the narrative possibilities of sequential photographs. Solitary figures navigate a mysterious world in search of connection.

Curated by Rafi Ghanaghounian of Keep 6 Exhibits.

Presented in collaboration with the Toronto International Film Festival Future Projections.

Location: Oz Studios 134 Ossington Avenue, Toronto.


Opening Night Reception (Free Admission)

Thursday September 6th, 7:00 – 11:00pm

Featuring Structure of the Master Plot, an improv music performance at 8PM, directed by SookYin Lee featuring Valerie Uher, Adam Litovitz, Mani Mazinani and Brandon Valdivia.

Artist Talk and Q & A (Free Admission)

Saturday September 15th 3:00 – 5:00pm

Sook Yin Lee in conversation with Margaux Williamson, Toronto-based filmmaker, painter and writer.

Regular Gallery Hours

Duration of exhibition September 6th – 16th

12:00pm – 6:00pm Monday- Sunday, seven days a week, or by appointment.

Contact: Rafi Ghanaghounian 416.897.3872 or rafi@keep6.ca

Artist Statement by Sook-Yin Lee


Home was a hard place to be. My momʼs destructive battle with mental illness was made worse by motherhood. She was trapped. I left home when I was fifteen and became estranged from my family.

I eventually moved from Vancouver to Toronto where Iʼve lived for many years working  as a filmmaker,musician, actor, visual artist, and broadcaster. In April, 2011, after  performing at the Winnipeg Comedy Festival, I received an email from my little sister  Deanna: “call me tomorrow xoxox d.” Deanna had been diagnosed with an aggressive  and rare form of breast cancer. It was time for me to go home.

Chemotherapy, surgery, reconstruction, and radiation are painful procedures. On a  sweltering hot day, Deanna was overwhelmed by joint pain and steroid-induced anxiety. We  rested beneath the shade of a tree. I pulled out some art supplies. From then on, to escape  the terrifying experience of disease and sickness, we took refuge in our imaginations and  made art.

With life upended, the feature movie I had been developing was put on hold. In  Vancouver, I discovered that taking photographs satisfied an important part of the  filmmaking process for me. By colliding disparate photographs together, surprising narratives  emerged in what I  refer to as “micro-movies”.

Reconnecting with my sister gave rise to these images. They are guided by an unconscious pulse, just as weʼre challenged by sickness in unknown ways.

These sequential images invite viewers to make their own connections. Each “micro-movie” tells a story and together they suggest an over arching narrative. Though they emerge from  a cinematic tradition, theyʼre not presented in widescreen. The tiny light panels emanate in  a darkened room and demand an intimate engagement. A lone vulnerable figure navigates  a murky landscape of traces, shadows and stains. An apparition floats in blackness. A woman smiles, her hand held in a mysterious gesture. Is she protecting or concealing? Perhaps she  is not there at all. We are light rays.

About the Artist

Sook-Yin Lee is a Toronto-based musician, actor, visual artist, filmmaker and radio &  television broadcaster. She fronted the art-rock band, Bobʼs Your Uncle before embarking on  a solo career. The former MuchMusic VJ hosts and co-produces the Gabriel Award® winning personal storytelling program DNTO on CBC Radio 1. Sook-Yin stars in the adventurous sex comedy SHORTBUS, directed by John Cameron Mitchell, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2006. Her performance earned her the 2007 Best Supporting Actress award from the International Cinephile Society, honoring the finest in American and international cinema. She wrote, directed and starred in THE BRAZILIAN, a chapter in the movie TORONTO STORIES. YEAR OF THE CARNIVORE is Sook-Yin Leeʼs feature film debut as writer-director. She cocreated the Genie-nominated score and concept album, Original  Music From and Inspired by the Movie Year of the Carnivore, with Buck 65 and Adam  Litovitz. Her previous solo photography exhibition I WANT TO GO TO AFRICA, was  presented in September 2006, shown at Xpace Gallery, Toronto.

“Sook-Yin is developing two feature movies, OCTAVIO IS DEAD, a supernatural love story  and PAYING FOR IT co-written with acclaimed cartoonist Chester Brown and emerging  writer Adam Litovitz, based on Chester Brown’s best-selling graphic novel. She will direct  both movies. In addition, Sook-Yin is performing the role of Olivia Chow, politician and wife  of the late Canadian political icon Jack Layton, in the movie SMILIN’JACK to air on CBC  TV.

“Sook-Yin Lee is nothing less than a one woman media arts convergence. One of those truly  original people our culture spits out once every generation or so.”

-Leah McLaren, The GLOBE and MAIL


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