Singapore Arts Festival 2003 Presents William Yang (Australia) - Blood Links


William Yang (Australia)



Blood Links


 Date:  20 - 22 June 
 Time:  8 pm
 Venue:  Jubilee Hall
 Tickets:  $42, $32, $22
 Duration:  90 minutes (no intermission)


“Yang is unique in what he does. He’s the only person in Australia, possibly in the world, using his exact combination of photographs, slides, music and speech.” ~ The Australian


“Yang’s piece isn’t by definition conventional theater. It is a family’s visual and oral history, but his impassive manner and dry wit imbue it with an affecting drama.” ~ The Atlanta Journal


Migrants settling into a different culture and country - something many of us in Singapore can identify with.  In Blood Links, using some 500 images, photographer-performer William Yang tells the story of his ancestors’ migration from China to Australia in the 1880s, delivering a highly personal, tender, yet humourous dimension to a familiar situation.


In an age where multimedia sometimes tends to encroach the basic human presence in theatre, a solo performer delivering a monologue accompanied by slide projections seem, as local playwright and poet Alfian Sa’at puts it, “almost quaint”.


Interestingly enough, it is this understated and ironic style of presentation for which William Yang is famed.


Framed by personal experience, Blood Links is an intimate visual and aural testimony of belonging to two cultures distinctly different yet inextricably linked.  A third generation Australian-Chinese, Yang explores his cultural heritage and examines the depth of his –  and many other Australian Chinese’s – integration into the Australian culture in this unique slide show and autobiographical monologue combination.


Trained as an architect, Yang’s thirty-year love affair with photography has chronicled Australian society from every possible angle and probed the boundaries of identity and race. He began his photographic career in the mid-seventies as a glossy magazine freelancer and documented Sydney socialites for the following ten years.

Since the early 80s, Yang has tested the limits of social propriety by addressing colonialism, the gay community and the AIDS epidemic through his wildly successful productions, Friends of Dorothy and Sadness. In 1999, Sadness was adapted for screen, shown at film festivals around the world, and was named Most Popular Film at the Brisbane International Film Festival (1999) and Best Documentary Film by the Australian Film Critics Circle Award (2000).


Described by arts commentator Stephen Feneley as “the man who made society photography an artform”, William Yang began performing his monologues with slide projection in the theatre in 1989, integrating his skills as a writer and a visual artist.  Slide shows became his favoured way of showing his work and recognised as a form of performance theatre.


Yang has received many awards for his work in photography and is one of the most toured Australian artists.  He has presented over twenty individual exhibitions across Asia, Australian, Europe and North America. His production of Blood Links has toured to countless locations, including the Wales International Performance Festival; Six Stages Festival in Toronto, Canada; Hero Festival in Auckland, New Zealand; KunstenFESTIVAL des Arts in Belgium, Denmark; The Spoleto Festival in Charleston, USA and the Festival d’Automne in Paris, France.


Please refer to attached annexes for more information:

Annex 1 – Profile of William Yang
Annex 2 – Profile of Composer, Production Manager and Performing Lines