William Yang | Australia b.1943 | About my mother (portfolio) (detail) 2003 | 30 silver gelatin photographs on paper | 1 of 30 sheets: 35.9 x 44.3cm | Purchased 2004 | Collection: Queensland Art Gallery
About my mother (portfolio) (detail) 2003
30 silver gelatin photographs on paper
1 of 30 sheets: 35.9 x 44.3cm
Collection: Queensland Art Gallery
About my mother (portfolio) 2003
William Yang is a third-generation Australian-Chinese artist, born and raised in Queensland. He is best known for his documentary photographs and his narrative monologues with slide projections. Many of Yang's works examine his Chinese family history, gay identity or themes such as AIDS.
About my mother 2003 is a portfolio of 30 photographs on the subject of Yang's mother, Emma. Some of the photographs were taken by the artist and others were collected from family and friends. The images begin in the 1930s in Cairns, in far north Queensland, when Emma was a young woman, and end in the 1990s in Graceville, Brisbane, where she died.
Yang's relationship with his mother was complex: while he felt comforted by her unconditional love, he also felt he was only able to be fully himself after her death. Yang gives us a sense of Emma as a strong and proud woman, but we also experience his struggle to grasp his mother's 'true essence' in a fleeting photograph.