William Yang – Bio

William Yang is one of Australia’s greatest storytellers. A prolific photographer, and performer of monologues with slide projections, his stories describe the experience of coming to terms with his identity as a gay Chinese Australian. His work presents a rich and celebratory visual record of this journey, from the world of sexual expression during the emergence of Sydney’s gay community to his personal Chinese heritage and family relationships. Often inscribed with a handwritten commentary or anecdote, a hallmark of Yang’s works, his visual stories are infused with a gently wry tone, mixing self-deprecating humour with insightful reflections on cultural identity.

William Yang was born in 1943 in North Queensland. His first solo exhibition, Sydneyphiles, was held in 1977 at the Australian Centre for Photography. Since then he has exhibited extensively across Australia, Asia, Europe and North America, including in Public Image, Private Lives: Family, Friends and Self in Photography, Art Gallery of South Australia (2016); Remain in Light, MCA Australia touring exhibition (2014-2015); 13th Dong Gang International Photo Festival, Korea (2014); The China Project, Gallery of Modern Art, QLD (2009); Claiming China, Australian Centre for Photography and Monash Gallery of Art (2008); Yin-Yang: China in Australia, S.H.Ervin Gallery (2008); and the major retrospective exhibition Diaries, New South Wales State Library (1998).

His work has won numerous awards and accolades, and is held in the collections of Wollongong City Council, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Museum of Contemporary Art, National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Victoria, National Portrait Gallery, Queensland Art Gallery, State Library of New South Wales and National Library of Australia.