(Australia 1943 – )
Tea with Aunty Kath, Innisfail, from the series miscellaneous obsessions
- Not on display
- Further information
William Yang considers himself ‘a documentarian, a diarist mainly, as it is my own personal stories that my work comes out of, from my own life’.1 His ‘stories’ synthesise his experiences and tell of his identity, his childhood and family history, friendships, the impact of AIDS and death. Yang was born in North Queensland, a third generation Chinese-Australian. He moved to Sydney in the late 1960s and commenced work as a freelance photographer in 1974, taking social photographs and documenting the then less visible gay community in Sydney. In the process he assembled a remarkable archive from the 1970s and 1980s. His first solo exhibition in 1977 presented a frank depiction of the Sydney party scene. Since 1989 he has developed a series of monologues with slide projections which draw on his collections of photographs and experiences and have become the focus of his work. These include ‘Sadness’, ‘Blood links’ and ‘The North’ which have toured extensively. Of his practice, Yang has observed: ‘I don’t think I have a great technical attitude but I am interested in people.’2
Yang has used colour photography as it has become more affordable and accessible. The images from ‘miscellaneous obsessions’ reflect Yang’s current life of travel and contact with his far-flung friends and extended family. Although the subject of ‘Tea with Aunty Kath, Innisfail’ is superficially food, where, when and who is there at the time is of equal importance. Consequently such photographs present a web of social and emotional connections which is true of all of Yang’s work regardless of their subject matter or form.
1. Edwards S, www.artnews.com.au/details.php?e=103. Accessed 13.06.2006
2. Yang W 1998, ‘William Yang: diaries: a retrospective exhibition, 25 years of social, personal and landscape photography’, State Library of New South Wales, Sydney p 18
© Art Gallery of New South Wales Photography Collection Handbook, 2007
- type C photograph
- 35.5 x 53.5 cm image; 40.5 x 58.5 cm sheet
- Signature & date
- Signed and dated u.r.corner, gold pen "... 1990. William Yang. ...".
- Purchased with funds provided by the Photography Collection Benefactors' Program 2003
- Accession number
- © William Yang