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

Yap weaves visual art with social practice, approaching her work as a tool to foster community and explore themes of mental 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. Through these poetic records of human experience, realised in a multitude of 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 the self reflection it encourages: a continual process that embraces imperfections and vulnerability.

Yap is invested in the story behind the object. “Why not make the backstory - the usually-unseen where, who and how - as visible and present as the what?” Belonging (2017-2020) embodies this sentiment. Spanning three years, the series encompassed three projects with over 130 contributors. The process was in turn captured by a series of artworks: hand-painted signs which documented reflections written by the participants - making the “backstory” visible. 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