Worldwide Locations

Worldwide Locations

Blood Links: William Yang's Tale of Family Migration

In the early 1980s your work addressed the gay community and the AIDS epidemic, which was considered very shocking back when it was a more taboo subject. How are you involved with the gay community now?

My main involvement now with the gay community is with the Asian Gay and Lesbian Pride group. I've been involved in the parades and parties. The Asian gay community is very much behind the mainstream white Anglo gay community. For instance, the Mardi Gras had been going on for 15 years before the Asian Gay and Lesbian Pride had a float that participated. I have gotten caught up in Asian Pride, and that has included AIDS education, but I actually feel that I have done gay as a subject and I have moved on from it. The issues are more a less the same but somehow as an artist you concentrate on a certain theme and once you fully explored it in your work it is very hard to continue it.

Since I have traveled a lot, the next piece I think I want to do is on comparative cultures because I have visited different countries and it could be a sort of travel log.

Looking ahead, I know you have also recently created a piece with Aboriginal artists. Could you speak about that new piece? Is 'marginalization' the common theme? Will you be bringing this piece back to the United States?

After Blood Links I actually ran out of personal stories I wanted to tell so I accepted doing a commissioned piece with the theme of reconciliation for the Adelaide and Sydney Festivals. So I include an aboriginal piece and also a German story about colonialism and how minority groups get very badly treated.

Yes, marginalization is a common theme. Although I have been successful, I am still on the margins and even my form is very marginalized. But in some ways I think that this works for me in that I am the only one doing these sorts of work. They are on a small scale so in some ways more accessible. It also doesn't take that much money to get one of my shows up, unlike doing a film. This gives me certain freedom as well.

This new piece will begin to tour this year but it won't be coming to the United States probably until the following year.

Interview conducted by Cindy Yoon of Asia Society.