Title/Project: Legacy
Location: on North American tour
Media: reclaimed cedar, welded steel, silk screen
Size: 30’ long x 8’ wide x 9’ high

In 2002, the body of a female killer whale was found stranded on the North Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. Just offshore, a healthy young male hovered close by, refusing gentle attempts to guide him into deeper water.

Although the orphaned male orca was saved, it was soon learned that the female’s body carried one of the most toxic loads of chemicals ever recorded in a marine mammal. She had the highest levels of PCBs and DDT ever found in an orca.

Local children who learned about her story gave her the name, “Hope.”

Hope’s story inspired me to create an installation that would illustrate the fragility of our ecosystems, and highlight the cost of ignoring our impact on our environment.

Legacy is a life-sized, anatomically correct orca skeleton that has been hand-carved from recycled cedar, meticulously following scans of Hope’s skeleton taken during her necropsy.

Through educational programming which accompanies the exhibition, Legacy empowers audiences to explore and discuss issues which affect them - encouraging them to take personal responsibility and promoting environmental stewardship.

Legacy is currently touring across North America, and to date, over 3 million people have experienced her compelling testimony.

"Ken's ‎spectacular reclaimed cedar killer whale skeleton provides a poignant opportunity for people of all ages and backgrounds to share critically important stories about ocean conservation.

Highlighting the plight of one of the most iconic creatures on the planet, this evocative piece of art has the potential to connect people to their environment."

- Dr. Peter Ross, Director of Ocean Pollution Research Program, Vancouver Aquarium
& Dr. Lance Barrett-Lennard, Head of Cetacean Research Program, Vancouver Aquarium

"Legacy is a stunning example of how science and nature can influence art and how art can expand the appreciation of science.

As Canada celebrates its 150 years in 2017, displaying Legacy at the Ontario Science Centre is particularly timely. This visually compelling piece asks our visitors to reflect on our current environmental practices and the changes we want to inspire for the future."

- Mary Jane Conboy, Director, Science Content and Design, Ontario Science Centre


Legacy Project Website
Smithsonian Review
Video: Legacy at the Ontario Science Centre
Video: Time Lapse - Installing Legacy