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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.

Lust for life

by William Yang, 1 September 2008

Celebrated Sydney-based photographer and performer William Yang was commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery to produce a new performance work that premiered at the opening of the Gallery's new building.

The gang, 1977
The gang, 1977

My Generation is a work incorporating spoken word, image projection and live music. This vibrant, dramatic and moving work is a reflection on William’s experience and documentation of the artistic, bohemian, and underground social scenes in Sydney in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

My Generation recalls the glamour of Jenny Kee and Linda Jackson’s fashion events, the strengthening of the Sydney gay and lesbian community and the flowering of the Sydney Mardi Gras, and the theatrical circle of Jim Sharman, Kate Fitzpatrick and Patrick White.

William Yang’s grandparents migrated from China to northern Australia in the 1880s. Born in North Queensland, William briefly studied architecture at the University of Sydney before embarking on his career in photography. He won the Higashigawa-cho International Photographer of the Year Award in 1993. Since the early 1990s he has exhibited widely and staged a number of performance works that have been acclaimed throughout the world; in 2003 Sydney’s Belvoir Theatre staged a four-part retrospective, The Journeys of William Yang.

The first stage of My Generation was developed while William was the HC Coombs Creative Arts Fellow at the Australian National University in Canberra in 2007. William is managed by Performing Lines, Sydney.

14 portraits

Related information

Portrait 29, September - November 2008

Magazine

This issue of Portrait Magazine includes William Bligh, Lionel Rose, Richard Larter, Layne Beachley, William Yang and more.

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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.