Spotlight: William Yang

As a visiting fellow in SAM artist William Yang transformed three of his iconic performance pieces into films. These three one hour films can now be accessed through the UNSW library and streamed for use in teaching and research.

William’s personal stories and photographs bring to life Chinese history in Australia, the Sydney arts scene of the 70s and 80s and the gay and lesbian community’s fight against AIDS and celebration of life in the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

Friends Of DorothyWilliam Yang's Friends Of Dorothy

William Yang's story is set against a backdrop of the Mardi Gras, which began as a protest in 1978. Mardi Gras is still a vibrant celebration, famous around the world, and now bringing together the different generations.

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My GenerationWilliam Yang: My Generation

In the 70s and 80s, photographer William Yang captured Sydney’s emerging artistic, literary, theatrical and queer circles, as well as his friendships with artists, filmmakers, writers and fashion designers such as Brett Whiteley, Patrick White, Jim Sharman, Linda Jackson and Jenny Kee.

With myriad images and his trademark candid narration, Yang leads us though this beguilingly decadent and creative era.

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Blood LinksWilliam Yang: Blood Links

William Yang traces the labyrinthine web of his family history. Both William’s paternal and maternal grandfathers came to Australia from the south of China in the 1880s to dig for gold. Both his parents were born here.

He has scores of relatives from all walks of life. Some are rich, but the majority are ordinary folk with ordinary jobs. Most cannot speak a word of Chinese. Blood Links examines the Chinese diaspora and how over the generations, through intermarriage, blood is mixed; yet the intricate bonds of family remain.

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"William Yang is one of Australia’s most essential and beloved storytellers, and Blood Links is an engrossing look at marriage, family and migration. It takes a rare talent to not only shed light on the blind spots in history, but reveal it with such care. Unmissable." - Benjamin Law, Writer and journalist