William Yang: Blood Links (image 1)

Australian performance artist and photographer William Yang explores an unwieldly family tree with deep distant roots in China.

Screened as part of NZIFF 2015

William Yang: Blood Links 2014

Directed by Martin Fox

Raised a child of ‘White Australia’, photographer and performer William Yang traces his genealogy as born-again Chinese in this charming documentary tribute to the sustaining power of family ties.

59 minutes DCP
Exempt

Director, Editor

Producer

Donna Chang

Screenplay, Presenter

William Yang

Sound

Liam Egan

Music

James Peter Brown

Elsewhere

In a NZIFF rich in genealogical explorations, renowned Australian photographer William Yang traces the labyrinthine web of his family history in this adaptation of his often-staged live performance piece. William was born and raised in North Queensland, his grandparents having migrated from China to the Top End during the 1880s gold rush. He grew up on a tobacco farm in Dimbulah and was brought up as an assimilated Australian with his Chinese heritage denied and unacknowledged. It was not until mid-life that he claimed his Chinese blood links at a time Australia itself was shaking free of its mono-cultural rigidity. The storytelling zeal he brings to sharing the family photo albums he’s discovered is as infectious as his tracing the connections is meticulous. His international exploration of his genealogy unites him with scores of relatives from all walks of life, some rich, but most ordinary folk with menial jobs. Most cannot speak a word of Chinese. A visual feast, Blood Links examines how the Chinese diaspora established roots around the world, and how over the generations, blood is mixed, yet the intricate bonds of family remain.