Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Director Chris Saines said ‘Seeing and Being Seen’ referred to the artist’s view of the world through the camera lens.
‘Yang captures people across all walks of life, including celebrity artists, alongside photographic explorations that throw light onto subcultures and marginalised groups, and he does not turn away from unsettling narratives or uncomfortable truths,’ Mr Saines said.
‘We are thrilled to be presenting this major exhibition encompassing every aspect of Yang’s practice and highlighting his life-long fascination with people and storytelling. We are also premiering his major new performance ‘In Search of Home’ at GOMA at 11am tomorrow, Saturday 27 March.'
Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch said QAGOMA continued to take a leading role in showcasing Queensland-born artists, such as William Yang.
‘William Yang is a noted writer, performer and visual artist with an international profile and this exhibition is an important survey of his work, celebrating inclusivity and diversity,’ Minister Enoch said.
‘The Queensland Government’s support for QAGOMA helps ensure the Gallery will continue its legacy of celebrating Queensland artists and sharing works that tell our stories.’
The exhibition includes Yang’s prolific social portraiture which features prominent creative identities from theatre, film, art and literature such as Patrick White, Brett Whiteley and Cate Blanchett, his revelatory insights into the LGBTIQ+ community, and insightful images of the Australian landscape.
‘Seeing and Being Seen’ also includes early social photographs of Sydney’s arts scene as well as the artist’s long exploration of his family and childhood experience in North Queensland which interrogate and celebrate his Chinese-Australian identity.
Rosie Hays, Associate Curator, Australian Cinémathèque, QAGOMA and curator of ‘Seeing and Being Seen’ said Yang’s identity as a Chinese-Australian, a gay man and artist informs his marginalised experience.
‘While the stories and images included in the exhibition are quite specific to William’s life, the emotions underpinning them are instantly recognisable and acutely relatable,’ Ms Hays said.
‘There is confession and courage in William’s storytelling. His most well-known works are often deeply personal and represent the means by which he reckons with his past, his relationships, and his experience outside the mainstream.’
Born in North Queensland in 1943, Yang grew up with little knowledge of his Chinese heritage. Even though his parents were second-generation Chinese-Australian, Cantonese was not spoken at home. After coming to Brisbane in the mid-1960s to study architecture at the University of Queensland, he moved to Sydney in 1969, and has lived and worked there ever since.
At 11.00am tomorrow William Yang will perform his major new monologue ‘In Search of Home’ at Cinema A, GOMA. This is a ticketed event and numbers are strictly limited.
At 10.30am on Saturday 21 August audiences can hear William Yang in-conversation with writer and broadcaster Benjamin Law. This is a ticketed event in Cinema A, GOMA, and numbers are strictly limited. For more info on these events visitwww.qagoma.qld.gov.au
A major hard-cover publication accompanying the exhibition features essays by William Yang, curator Rosie Hays, Professor Susan Best and Benjamin Law.