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William Yang

William Yang
Brett Whiteley and Martin Sharp at Wirian 1982
34 x 40cm
Digital print
Edition 20

  William Yang

Educational Qualifications

1998
Hon. Doctorate of Letters, University of Queensland, Brisbane
1968
Bachelor of Arts (Architecture), University of Queensland, Brisbane

Biography

One of few Australian artists to have a long-term dialogue with the public, William Yang is internationally renowned for his photographic and performance works. Born in Mareeba, North Queensland in 1943, William studied architecture at The University of Queensland before relocating to Sydney in 1969. After working as a playwright with an experimental theatre company, he turned his hand to photography more seriously in 1974.

William’s premier exhibition, Sydneyphiles (1977), documented Sydney’s celebrity and gay party scene and polarised viewers with its graphic and striking imagery. Since then, William has become highly regarded for his honest portraiture, sublime landscapes and reflective examinations of Chinese-Australian cultures.

William has held numerous exhibitions of his photographs throughout Asia, Australia, Europe and North America. His work is represented in the following public collections: National Gallery of Australia, National Library of Australia, National Portrait Gallery, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Queensland Art Gallery/GoMA, State Library of New South Wales, Museum of Contemporary Art, Cairns Regional Gallery, The University of Queensland, Higashigawa-cho Municipal Gallery, Hokkaido, Japan and Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Japan.

Since 1989, William’s other major vehicle of expression has been live performance. His photographs serve as bookmarks and illustrations to his melodious, poetic monologues. Many of William’s performance works have toured across Australia and the world; Sadness was recreated as a multi-award winning motion picture in 1999.

William was awarded International Photographer of the Year at the Higashigawa-cho International Photographic Festival, Japan in 1993. He received an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from The University of Queensland in 1998 and was awarded the H.C. Coombs Creative Arts Fellowship by the Australian National University in 2007.

William continues to explore themes of history, self and identity. He was commissioned to create a new performance piece, My Generation, for the opening of the National Portrait Gallery in 2008. His work was prominently featured in Queensland Art Gallery’s The China Project in 2009 and will be included in The University of Queensland Art Museum’s National Self Portrait Prize 2009. William lives and works in Sydney, travelling often to Queensland and China.

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2014
My Generation, Andrew Baker Art Dealer, Brisbane
2011
Hands, Andrew Baker Art Dealer, Brisbane
Old New Borrowed Blue, Stills Gallery, Sydney
2 Pieces by Pina Bausch, Sydney Opera House, Sydney
Landscapes, Maunsell Wickes at Barry Stern Galleries, Sydney
2009
My Uncle’s Murder and Other Stories, Andrew Baker Art Dealer, Brisbane
Life Lines (part of The China Project), Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane
2008
Claiming China, Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney; Monash Gallery of Art, Melbourne
Miscellaneous Obssessions 2, Helen Maxwell Gallery, Canberra
2007
Breathing the Rarefied Air of Canberra, Helen Maxwell Gallery, Canberra
2006
William Yang: Selected Photographs 1968–2003, Mackay Regional Gallery, Mackay; Bathurst Regional Gallery, New South Wales; Manning Regional Gallery, New South Wales; Port Hastings Regional Art Gallery, New South Wales; Bendigo Art Gallery, Victoria; Logan Art Gallery, Queensland; National Wool Museum, Geelong, Victoria; Gold Coast City Art Gallery, Queensland; Albury Regional Gallery, New South Wales; Mossman Art Gallery, New South Wales; Wollongong City Gallery, New South Wales; Cairns Regional Gallery, Queensland
Enngonia, Rhur Museum, Mineralien-Museum, Essen, Germany
2001
Australian Chinese, Gallery 4A, Sydney; Luna Theatre, Brussels, Belgium; National Portrait Gallery, Canberra; Ballarat Fine Art Gallery, Victoria
Miscellaneous Obsessions, Stills Gallery, Sydney; Adelaide Festival Centre, South Australia
2000
Images, Andrew Baker Art Dealer, Brisbane; Grafton Regional Gallery, Grafton, New South Wales
1998
Diaries, State Library of New South Wales, Sydney
1997
Friends of Dorothy, Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney 
Stolen Moments, Photofeis, Edinburgh 
1995
Land and Sea, Canberra Civic Centre; George Gallery, Melbourne; Barry Stern Gallery, Sydney
Written Works, Barry Stern Gallery, Sydney; Darwin Entertainment Centre Gallery, Northern Territory; Perth Institute of Contemporary Art, Western Australia; Salamanca Arts Centre, Hobart, Tasmania
Patrick White, Barry Stern Gallery, Sydney 
1994
Sydney Photographed, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney 
1993
From Bondi to Ularu, Higashikawa Arts Centre, Hokkaido, Japan 
1991
Australian Faces and Places, Ordos Museum, Yi League, Inner Mongolia, China 
1988
Living Together, New South Wales Bicentennial Exhibition, Sydney 
1984
Sydney Diary, Hogarth Galleries, Sydney 
1977
Sydneyphiles, Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney 

Selected Group Exhibitions

2012
Volume One: MCA Collection, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney
William and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize, Monash Gallery of Art, Melbourne
Beyond Likeness: contemporary portraits, Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery, Perth
2010
New 2010: Selected Recent Acquisitions, The University of Queensland Art Museum, Brisbane
Up Close: Carol Jerrems with Larry Clark, Nan Goldin and William Yang, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne
Multiplicities: Self Portraits from the Collection, The University of Queensland Art Museum, Brisbane
Love’s Body: Art in the age of AIDS, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Japan
2009
A Chinese Legacy, The University of Queensland, Brisbane
The University of Queensland National Artists' Self-Portrait Prize, The University of Queensland, Brisbane
Character, Andrew Baker Art Dealer, Brisbane
2008
Men Like Me, Midsumma Festival, Melbourne
2007
Queensland: Sunshine State, Campbelltown Art Gallery, Sydney
National Photographic Portrait Prize, National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Reveries: Photography & Mortality, National Portrait Gallery, Canberra; The University of Queensland Art Museum, Brisbane; Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, Victoria
2006
Australian Photographic Portrait Prize, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
2005
Australian Photographic Portrait Prize, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
Points of view: Australian photography 1985–95, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
Art and About, Sydney
In a New Light: Australian Photography 1930s–2000, National Library of Australia, Canberra
2004
Jia (Family, House, Home), Hong Kong International Arts Festival, Hong Kong
Home, Chinese Arts Centre, Manchester, England; and various UK galleries
Art and About, Sydney
2003
POL: Portrait of a Generation, National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Synergies, ANU, Drill Hall, Canberra
Hung, Drawn and Quartered, Tin Sheds, Sydney
JIA, Gallery 4A, Sydney
2002
Imaging Identity and Place, Grafton Regional Gallery, NSW; QUT Art Museum, Brisbane; Goulburn Regional Art Gallery, NSW; Manly Art Gallery and Museum, NSW; Orange Regional Art Gallery, NSW; Bendigo Art Gallery, Vic; Albury Art Gallery, NSW; Tweed River Regional Art Gallery, NSW; Campbelltown City Art Gallery, NSW; Gold Coast City Art Gallery, Bundall, Qld; Tamworth City Gallery, NSW 
2001
Brownies and Blondies, Aeroplastics Gallery, Brussels
2000
Complicity, Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney 
Visualising AIDS: Images in Art and Design, Ivan Dougherty Gallery, Sydney 
A Long Life, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane 
Ecstacy, Wessel + O’Connor Gallery, New York, NY, USA
Exposure, Wemyss Gallery, Sydney
Mirror with a Memory, National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
World Without End, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
Federation, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
Surrender, Aeroplastics Gallery, Brussels
Brownies and Blondies, Torch Gallery, Amsterdam
1998
On the Edge: Australian Photographers of the Seventies, San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, CA, USA
Waterproof, Centra Cultural de Belem, Lisboa, Portugal 
Close Relationships, Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney 
1997
Missing, II Ponte Contemporanca, Rome 
1994
AustralAsian Exhibition, Hong Kong (sponsored by the Australian Consulate General, South China Morning Post and Qantas) 
Art in the Age of AIDS, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 
+Positive: Artists Addressing AIDS, Cambelltown City Art Gallery, Sydney 
1993
Personal Fictions: Art of This World, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney
Mardi Gras, Barry Stern Gallery, Sydney
A View From Australia, Australia Week Exhibition, Beijing, China

Monologues with Slides

2011
I am a Camera, Lennox Theatre, Riverside Theatres, Parramatta, NSW (Part of Sydney Festival); Reginald Theatre, Seymour Centre, Chippendale, NSW
2008
China, Stables Theatre, Sydney
Shadows, USA tour, Marylands, Cedar Rapids, Minneapolis, Chicago, Boston, Hanover
China, Stavanger, Bergen, Norway; Kunsten Festival, Brussels, Belgium; Alkantara Festival, Lisbon, Portugal; Theater Der Welt, Halle, Germany; Orego Arts Festival, Dunedin, New Zealand, Nelson Arts Festival, New Zealand
My Generation, National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
2007
China, Performance Space at CarriageWorks, Sydney; OzAsia Festival, Adelaide; Melbourne International Festival, Melbourne
2006
Shadows, Under The Radar festival, New York, NY, USA; Illawarra Performing Arts Centre, Wollongong, New South Wales; Glen Street Theatre, Sydney; Canberra Theatre Centre, ACT; Judith Wright Centre, Brisbane; Caloundra Cultural Centre, Queensland; Darwin Entertainment Centre, Northern Territory; Tanks Art Centre, Cairns
Objects For Meditation, Singapore. Melbourne Festival, Melbourne
China, development stage
2005
From the Inside Out, Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre, New South Wales
Objects For Meditation, Sydney Opera House, Sydney; Kunsten Festival, Brussels, Belgium; River Festival, Brisbane, also Oslo, Norway; Rotterdam, The Netherlands; Lyon, France; Reunion Islands
2004
From the Inside Out, Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney
Sadness, Blood Links and Friends of Dorothy, Romaeuropa Festival, Rome, Italy
2003
Romaeuropa Festival, Rome, London, Strasbourg, Dublin, Philadelphia
Shadows, Calgary, Vancouver, Toronto and Montréal, Canada
The Journeys of William Yang (Performance retrospective: Shadows, Blood Links, Friends of Dorothy and Sadness), Belvoir Street Theatre, Sydney
Blood Links, Singapore International Arts Festival, Singapore
Shadows, Georges Pompidou Centre, Paris France; Festival d’Automne, Paris, France
2002
Shadows, Sydney Festival, New South Wales; Perth Festival, Western Australia; Adelaide Festival, South Australia; Bergan International Festival, Bergen, Norway
Friends of Dorothy, Midsumma Festival, Melbourne; It’s Queer Up North Festival, Manchester, England
Blood Links, Houston, USA, Theaterformen, Hannover and Braunschweig, Speilstand 02, Frankfurt, Germany, Strasbourg, France, Bite 02, London, Theater Spektakel, Zurich, De Keuze van de Schouwburg, Rotterdam, Artsaustralia Berlin 02, Berlin, 4th China Shanghai International Arts Festival, Shanghai, Asia Society and Snug Harbour, New York
2001
Friends of Dorothy, High Performance Rodeo Festival, Calgary
Blood Links, Six Stages Festival, Toronto, Canada; Hero Festival, Auckland, New Zealand; Taranaki Festival, New Plymouth, New Zealand; Kunsten Festival, Brussels, Belgium; Spoleto Festival, Charleston, USA; Festival d’Automne, Paris, France
2000
The North, Culturgest Festival, Lisboa, Portugal
Blood Links, Little Asia Festival, Hong Kong and Taipei; Restless Gravity Festival, Swansea, St Donats, Bangor, Aberystwyth, Wales; Brisbane
1999
The North, International Festival of Arts and Ideas, New Haven, Connecicut, USA
Blood Links, Performance Space, Sydney 
Friends of Dorothy, FEAST Festival, Adelaide 
1998
The North toured Perth, Albany, Bunbury, Karratha, Broome (all WA); Alice Springs and Darwin (NT); Cairns, Townsville, Mackay (all Qld); Lismore, NSW; Geelong, Vic; Launceston and Hobart (Tasmania)
Friends of Dorothy, Performance Space, Sydney
1997
The North toured Brisbane; Adelaide; Canada; London; Germany; New Zealand 
Sadness toured Vancouver, Canada; Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Scotland
1996
Sadness, queerupnorth1996, Manchester, Liverpool, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (all England)
The North, National Festival of Australian Theatre, Canberra; Melbourne Festival; Belvoir Street Theatre, Sydney 
1995
The Fabulous Trifle, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney 
Sadness toured New Zealand; North Queensland; Darwin; Perth; Geelong; Hobart; Albury; Katoomba; London; Manchester; Minneapolis
1994
Sadness, Hong Kong Fringe Festival; Adelaide Festival of the Arts; New Zealand International Festival with seasons, Auckland; Brisbane 
1993
Sadness, Asian Theatre Season, Sydney; Melbourne International Festival; National Festival of Australian Theatre, Canberra 
1992
Sadness, Belvoir Street Theatre, Sydney 
1990
China Diary, Belvoir Street Theatre, Sydney; Modern Image Makers Festival, Melbourne 
1989
The Face of Buddha, Belvoir Street Theatre, Sydney 
Excerpt from The Face of Buddha, Writers in Recital, Perspecta Readings, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; Spoletto Fringe Festival, Melbourne

Collaborations and Workshops

2006
Collaborated with Kate Champion, choreographer, with Snapshots
Collaborated with Kate Shearer of Jigsaw Children’s Theatre with Emma’s Dynasty
2005
Cluster, Adelaide
Conducted two week story telling workshop for performers at Reunion Island
2004
Directed Flash Blak, performed by Merv Bishop for Message Sticks Festival
Worked with Cultural Diversity Cluster group, research, at Drama Department, Flinders University, Adelaide
2001
Sadness, Margaret Meade Touring Film Festival, USA and international
2000
Sadness screened at gay film festivals in London, Boston, Hong Kong, Toronto, New Zealand, Turin, and at mainstream film festivals in Tel-Aviv, Canada (Hot Docs), Amsterdam, Australia (Doco 2000), Singapore, Switzerland
Four Sites in Wales, collaborative work with Mike Pearson, Video
1999
Collaborative work with Edwin Lung, British-Chinese choreographer, in England
The film Sadness, adapted and directed by Tony Ayres, screened at gay film festivals in New York; San Francisco; Los Angeles; Austin; Montréal; Chicago; Amsterdam; Washington D.C.; Seattle, and at mainstream film festivals in Amsterdam; Hawaii; Mumbai, India; Montréal; New York; Brisbane; Melbourne
Sadness broadcast by SBS TV in the Masterpiece series
1990
Commissioned by ABC TV Drama to write The Wives of Kwong, a mini-series about Chinese in Australia
1971
Childhead's Doll
1969–1971
Playwright, Performance Syndicate, Sydney: Plays included Orestes; 10,000 Miles Away

Film, Performance, Television and Theatre

2008
6x6, a collaboration with Indigenous artists, Moree, NSW
2007
Wrote Emma’s Dynasty for Jigsaw Childrens Theatre, Canberra
Collaborated with Kate Champion on The Age I’m In
2004–05
Directed Flash Blak, performed by Merv Bishop for Message Sticks Fest
Worked with Cultural Diversity Cluster group, research, with Drama Department, Flinders University
2001
Sadness, Margaret Meade Touring Film Festival, USA and international
2000
Sadness screened at gay film festivals in London, Boston, Hong Kong, Toronto, New Zealand, Turin, and at mainstream film festivals in Tel-Aviv, Canada (Hot Docs), Amsterdam, Australia (Doco 2000), Singapore, Switzerland
1999
The film Sadness, adapted and directed by Tony Ayres, screened at gay film festivals in New York; San Francisco; Los Angeles; Austin; Montréal; and at mainstream film festivals in Amsterdam; Hawaii; Munbai, India; Montréal 
Sadness broadcast by SBS TV in the Masterpiece series 
1996
The Chinese Diaspora, Stage One, a collaborative work with Edwin Lung, the British-Chinese choreographer, in England 
1990
Commissioned by ABC TV Drama to write The Wives of Kwong, a mini-series about Chinese in Australia 
1969–71
Playwright, Performance Syndicate, Sydney: Plays included Orestes; 10,000 Miles Away; Childhead's Doll

Selected Bibliography

King, Natalie. Up Close: Carol Jerrems with Larry Clark, Nan Goldin and William Yang, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Schwartz City, Melbourne, 2010
Lo, Jacqueline. ‘William Yang: Ghostly Inventories’ in Turner, Caroline and Williams, David. Recovering Lives, Research School of Humanities and School of Art Gallery, The Australian National University, Canberra, 2008
Lo, Jacqueline. ‘Ghostly Inventories’ in Yang, William. My Uncle’s Murder, Andrew Baker Art Dealer, Brisbane, 2009
William Yang:Selected Photographs 1968–2003, Wollongong City Gallery, Wollongong, 2003
Yang, William. Australian Chinese: William Yang, National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, 2001
Yang, William. China, Currency Press, Sydney, 2008
Yang, William. Diaries: A retrospective exhibition: 25 years of social, personal and landscape photography, State Library of New South Wales, Sydney, 1998
Yang, William. Friends of Dorothy, Pan Macmillan Australia, Sydney, 1997
Yang, William. My Uncle’s Murder, Andrew Baker Art Dealer, Brisbane, 2009
Yang, William. Patrick White: The Late Years, Pan Macmillan Australia, Sydney, 1995
Yang, William. Sadness, Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 1996
Yang, William. Starting Again: A Time in the Life of William Yang, Heinemann, Melbourne, 1989
Yang, William. Sydney Diary: 1974–1984, James Fraser, Sydney, 1984
Yang, William. ‘William Yang: Life Lines’ in The China Project, Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, 
Yang, William and Pip, Chris. Bodywork: Confessions from the Funeral Trade, Hale and Iremonger, Sydney, 1990

Awards

2008
Emma’s Dynasty wins Canberra Times Critics Award
2007
H. C. Coombs Creative Arts Fellowship, Australian National University, Canberra
2004
The Journeys of William Yang, performance retrospective, nominated for Best Special Event, Helpmann Awards, Australia
2003
Sadness, winner, special prize, Guangzhou Documentary Film Festival, China
2000
Finalist award, New York Expo, 2000
2000– 2002
Sadness the film, written and performed by William Yang, adapted and directed by Tony Ayres, voted Most Popular film at the Brisbane International Film Festival, Brisbane
Winner of AWGIE for best screenplay by the Australian Writers Guild
Sadness bestowed the Cinemedia Erwin Rado award for the Best Australian Short Film, Melbourne Film Festival, Melbourne
Sadness nominated Best Documentary, winner Best Sound, Australian Film Industry awards
Sadness, finalist, Television Documentary and Information Programs Cultural Issues; finalist, New York Festivals 1999 Television Programming Awards
Special Mention; Australian Centre for Cultural Studies Awards
Sadness winner Australian Film Critics Circle Award for Best Doc. film
Sadness winner of best documentary ATOM Awards (Association of Teachers Of Media)
1999
Sadness, written and performed by William Yang, adapted and directed by Tony Ayes, voted Most Popular film at the Brisbane International Film Festival 
Awarded an AWGIE prize for Sadness screenplay by the Australian Writers Guild 
Sadness bestowed the Cinemedia Erwin Rado award for the Best Australian Short Film, Melbourne Film Festival 
Sadness received the Australian Film Industry award for best sound in a documentary 
1997
Outstanding Visual Arts Event. Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, Sydney, for Friends of Dorothy 
1993
International Photographer of the Year: The Higashigawa-cho International Photographic Festival Award, Japan

Public Collections

National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
National Library of Australia, Canberra
National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane
State Library of New South Wales, Sydney
Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney
Cairns Regional Art Gallery, Queensland
Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane
The University of Queensland, Brisbane
Higashigawa-cho Municipal Gallery, Hokkaido, Japan
Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Japan