William Yang: Seeing and Being Seen


Published for ‘William Yang: Seeing and Being Seen’, an exhibition organised by the Queensland Art Gallery I Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) and held at QAG, Brisbane, Australia, 27 March – 22 August 2021.


ISBN: 9781925922134 Category:


Accompanying a Queensland Art Gallery ¦ Gallery of Modern Art exhibition of the same name, William Yang: Seeing and Being Seen explores photographer and performer William Yang’s five decades of prolific art practice. This is the first major survey exhibition and publication on the artist by a state gallery. Featuring reproductions of over 200 photographs, it traces Yang’s career from his heady early days as a social photographer in the 1970s documenting Sydney’s queer scene through to some of his well-known series addressing family ties, sexual and cultural identity, and the Australian landscape. Developed in collaboration with the artist, the publication also examines the artist’s deep connections to Queensland, including his mid-career explorations of growing up in the far north of the state.

Several insightful essays that delve into the public and private realms of the artist complement Yang’s highly personal and engaging imagery. QAGOMA curator Rosie Hays provides an overview of the artist’s highly regarded career; writer and broadcaster Benjamin Law gives an account of his own experiences growing up as a gay, Chinese Australian; and Professor Susan Best discusses the artist’s engagement with shame – and his refusal to accept it – in both personal and public histories.

This must-have publication for devotees of photography celebrates William Yang’s invaluable contribution to Australian art and our rich traditions of storytelling.

Additional information

Weight 1273 g
Dimensions 21.7 x 28.8 cm
Publisher name Queensland Art Gallery
Publication date 6 October 2022
Number of pages 220
Format Hardback
Contributors Contributions by Rosie Hays, Benjamin Law, and Susan Best
Dimensions 21.7 x 28.8 cm
Weight 1273 g


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Rosie Hays is Associate Curator, Australian Cinémathèque, QAGOMA, and curator of 'William Yang: Seeing and Being Seen'. She has curated numerous film programs for the Australian Cinémathèque, including 'New Bollywood: Currents in Indian Cinema' for 'The Ninth Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art' (APT9) in 2018, 'This Land is Mine ¦ This Land is Me' in 2016, and 'Let There Be Rock' in 2011. She is also a programmer for the Brisbane International Film Festival, hosted by QAGOMA (2018-20).

Benjamin Law is an Australian writer and broadcaster. He's the author of the memoir The Family Law (2010), the travel book Gaysia: Adventures in the Queer East (2012), the Quarterly Essay 'Moral panic 101' (2017), and the editor of the anthology Growing Up Queer in Australia (2019). Benjamin also created and co-wrote three seasons of the award-winning SBS TV series The Family Law - based on his memoir. His debut play Torch the Place will be staged by the Melbourne Theatre Company in 2020. He has a PhD in creative writing and cultural studies from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT).

Professor Susan Best is an art historian and Professor of Art Theory and Fine Art at the Queensland College of Art, Griffith University, Brisbane, and a fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. Her book Visualizing Feeling: Affect and the Feminine Avant-garde (2011) won the Australian and New Zealand Art Association (AAANZ) prize for best book, and Reparative Aesthetics: Witnessing in Contemporary Art Photography (2016) was joint winner of the AAANZ best book prize. She is currently completing a book on body art and performance (Bloomsbury Philosophy).