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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

William Yang

Australian Chinese

Previous exhibition from Friday 12 October 2001 until Sunday 2 December 2001

William Yang's art is about the telling of stories, his work is an intriguing mixture of philosophy, autobiography, social history and documentary imbued with a sense of the artist's own curiosity, humanity and humour. Australian Chinese also traces the threads of Chinese influence in Australia's buildings, places and faces.

Self Portrait #1, 1992 by William Yang
Self Portrait #1, 1992 by William Yang

"I was born in North Queensland and grew up denying I was Chinese, with a sense of shame quite close to the surface. Partly because my mother thought being Chinese was a complete liability, a useless thing and she wanted me to assimilate into Australian culture. It was not until I was forty that I found myself. I met a teacher who taught me Taoism and as consequence, I embraced my Chinese heritage. I have since travelled to many places in Australia where the Chinese have been and recorded their presence."

William Yang

 

William Yang, a third generation Australian Chinese, has developed an international reputation as a photographer and performer. His photographs take us on a journey from his birthplace in North Queensland, back to the struggles of earlier generations of his Chinese family in Australia, through to the present with family members scattered across the globe. William has captured the life and times of today's Australian Chinese. Some of them were born here, others have recently migrated, but each group grapples with their identity and asks, "How do I fit in?"

Australian Chinese tells another story of Australian history through the powerful images and words of William Yang. William's art attempts to come to terms with being an Australian Chinese and what it means to be bicultural in Australia. The exhibition will tour to the Brisbane City Gallery and other venues in the country.

Related people

William Yang

Related information

Interview with William Yang video: 2 minutes
Interview with William Yang video: 2 minutes
Interview with William Yang video: 2 minutes
Interview with William Yang video: 2 minutes

Patrick White by William Yang

Portrait story

An interview with photographer William Yang who recalls his encounters with the author Patrick White.

Evonne Goolagong, 1973 Ern McQuillan
Evonne Goolagong, 1973 Ern McQuillan
Evonne Goolagong, 1973 Ern McQuillan
Evonne Goolagong, 1973 Ern McQuillan

Black Gold

The Aboriginal and Islander Sports Hall of Fame

Previous exhibition, 2001

Reflecting the breadth and diversity of Aboriginal and Islander achievement within and beyond the world of sport, this exhibition tells the little known tales of triumph over adversity.

Jeremy, 2001 by Sarah Cocker
Jeremy, 2001 by Sarah Cocker
Jeremy, 2001 by Sarah Cocker
Jeremy, 2001 by Sarah Cocker

Headspace 2

Previous exhibition, 2001

A dynamic young people's art exhibition, Hearts/Heads: Headspace II explored portraiture, produced by students from year 7 to year 12

The Hon. Edward Gough Whitlam by Martin Wilson
The Hon. Edward Gough Whitlam by Martin Wilson
The Hon. Edward Gough Whitlam by Martin Wilson
The Hon. Edward Gough Whitlam by Martin Wilson

Fuzzy Prime Ministers of Australia

Previous exhibition, 2001

In the one hundred years since Federation, Australia has produced twenty-five Prime Ministers of all shapes, shades and sizes

We would like to thank our partners.
© National Portrait Gallery 2020
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

Phone +61 2 6102 7000
Fax +61 2 6102 7001
ABN: 54 74 277 1196

The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.