Life of a Craphead: Two public billboard works + podcast

This Dazibao satellite project has been realized with the generous support of the Caisse Desjardins du Plateau-Mont-Royal and through an ongoing partnership with Café Cherrier and Bonsecours Market.


© Life of a Craphead, $100 Bill With South Asian Scientist Added Back In (2019). Photo: Marilou Crispin.

Dazibao is excited to present $100 Bill With South Asian Scientist Added Back In, a work especially conceived by the artist duo Life of a Craphead for Dazibao satellite. With these two impressive images, located on the façades of the Café Cherrier and the Bonsecours Market, the artists revise and reimagine the history of the $100 Canadian bill.

In light of recent changes made to Canada’s $10 bill, which now features Canadian civil rights pioneer Viola Desmond, the artists revisit a 2012 controversy around the design for the Canadian $100 bill. The initially proposed design included the depiction of a scientist. However, after having supposedly received a number of critiques vis-à-vis the scientist appearing too “Asian-looking,” the design was changed in favour of a more “ethnically neutral” (meaning White) depiction ― an incident which solicited a formal apology from the Bank of Canada.

Applying the critical but humorous approach that is often seen in their works, the artists have rendered what they imagine the rejected $100 bill might have looked like in order to bring to discussion the under-representation of racialized people in the landscape of Canadian imagery. At the Bonsecours Market, a larger-than-life sized $100 bill undoubtedly catches the eye. But upon closer inspection, you might notice that something is indeed different; that is, only if you are lucky enough to be familiar with the bill or if you have one in your pocket! At Café Cherrier, the variant detail is magnified for us to see: a South Asian scientist replaces the white one. The difference is subtle and yet it incites us to interrogate the multiple ways in which power is exercised, especially through an object so highly sought out.

An off-site extension of our exhibition programming, dedicated to the dissemination of contemporary image practices, Dazibao satellite aims to stimulate discussions around current social issues and the integration of art into everyday life.

About the podcast
Staying out of Trouble – Reading the $100 Bill

As an accompaniment to Dazibao Satellite’s recently installed public art work $100 Bill With South Asian Scientist Added Back In by Life of a Craphead, Dazibao is pleased to offer a podcast for your listening enjoyment while you walk from one Satellite billboard to the next.

Written by designer and professor Chris Lee and performed by Kama La Mackerel, the podcast maps out a critical account of the controversial $100 bill featured on the billboards. Looking at history and design it explores how liberalism and legitimacy work hand in hand as a means to secure power and colonial processes.

Billboards are located on the facades of Café Cherrier (3635 St-Denis St.) and Bonsecours Market (350 St-Paul St. E). Go to either of the billboards and scan the Dazibao QR code to be taken directly to the podcast.

Text written by Chris Lee and read by Kama La Mackarel
Translated by Colette Tougas
Sound by Marie-Josée Archambault


© Life of a Craphead, $100 Bill With South Asian Scientist Added Back In (2019). Photo: Marilou Crispin.

About Life of a Craphead
Life of a Craphead is a collaboration between two artists, Amy Lam and Jon McCurley. Their works inlcude performance art, film, as well as curatorial practices. The name Life of a Craphead is inspired from their first performance in 2006. Amy is Chinese and Jon is Vietnamese-Irish. Both artists live and work in Toronto. In 2018, Life of a Craphead was nominated for the Sobey Art Award. Their exhibition, Entertaining Every Second has been shown at TRUCK Contemporary Art (Calgary), AKA (Saskatoon) and at CLARK (Montréal). In 2017, their work King Edward VII Equestrian Statue Floating Down the Don River, commissioned by the Don Valley River Park, created several debates. Their first feature film Bugs (2016) has screened in Canada and the U.S., including at Night Gallery (Los Angeles), The Western Front (Vancouver), Parsons School of Design (New York), The Khyber Centre for the Arts (Halifax), and S1 (Portland, OR).

About Dazibao
Dazibao is an art centre dedicated to the dissemination of contemporary image practices, privileging artistic experimentation, enquiry and reflection. By questioning the discourses, uses and modes of disseminating images, Dazibao explores artistic as well as historical and social issues, and aims to connect with various communities.

Dazibao’s reflections on the image are conveyed by way of exhibitions, video programs, films, public artworks, books and occasional events. Dazibao collaborates with numerous artists, curators, the university milieu, critics and researchers, and is involved in several ongoing partnerships with related or complementary organisations.

Dazibao promotes cultural diversity and hybridisation so that art can assert itself as a field of knowledge capable of facilitating a better understanding of the world around us. Our programming, events and activities are offered free of charge. With this gesture, we aim to reinforce the idea that accessibility and inclusivity confirm the relevance of art to everyday life.


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Phone : 514-845-0063
5455, de Gaspé avenue, suite 109, Montréal, Québec, H2T 3B3 (partially accessible)

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