Christine Wong Yap

A collaborative, text-led practice that unpacks and amplifies sites of belonging.

Christine Wong Yap leaning on a cabinet in her studio with her arms crossed over
artist flicking through the pages of a notebook that sits on a table before her with preliminary sketches of text for her project
a table with strips of various colours on, next to a piece of paper where various marks have been made with blue paint
5 images

Christine Wong Yap was born in 1977 in California's San Francisco Bay, where she has recently relocated after a decade spent living and working in Queens, New York.

Practice

Her work predominantly takes the form of public projects and community collaborations in locations such as New York and Houston, US; Cumbria, UK; Toruń, Poland and Puerto Rico. In 2021 she was selected as the first ever Times Square Public Artist-in-Residence.

Did you know?

In 2020, Yap contributed a work to artist-run collective For Freedoms' trailblazing 'Awakening' campaign, which took the form of a roadside billboard asking passers by - "How do you keep your heart open?"

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Practice overview

Christine Wong Yap weaves visual art with social practice, approaching her work as a tool to foster community and explore themes of wellbeing and belonging. Her site-specific works - often facilitated through community workshops and exhibited in ‘non-art’ public spaces - combine text with comics, diagrammatic drawing and textile elements. In zines and publications, she collects stories from across the globe to create a symbolic document for collective memory. Always invested in the stories that inform her artworks, she says: “Why not make the backstory - the usually-unseen where, who and how - as visible and present as the what?” Through poetic records of human experience realised in multiple artistic forms, she demonstrates the ways in which communal creativity can contribute to both individual and societal resilience.

Yap creates work that incites introspection. In 2020 the artist-run collective For Freedoms commissioned her to create a public monument in response to the 2020 US election. Yap’s billboard posed a question central to her practice: How do you keep your heart open? Realised as a pencil drawing with the telltale marks of a preparatory sketch, the work retains a sense of being in progress, and in doing so, frames a notion of self-reflection: a continual process that embraces imperfections and vulnerability. With community and care running throughout her practice, Yap works towards a universal homecoming for all who encounter her art.

“I aim to reflect values of accessibility, transparency, generosity, and reciprocity.”Christine Wong Yap