Christine Wong Yap

Christine Wong Yap uses her collaborative, text-led practice to understand and amplify sites of belonging.

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.

For details of our collaboration with Christine Wong Yap, Hank Willis Thomas and artist-run collective For Freedoms, click here.

 

Highlights
  • Times Square Arts' Public Artist in Residence, New York, 2021
  • Belonging, online show at Santa Clara University Department of Art and Art History, Santa Clara, 2021
  • How Do You Keep Your Heart Open? (For Susan), billboard contribution to For Freedoms' Awakening campaign, 2020
  • Between You and Me, group show at John Micheal Kohler Art Center, Sheboygan, 2020
  • Material Practices in the Everyday, group show at Artery Art Space, Philippines, 2015
How do you keep your heart open? by Christine Wong Yap
How Do You Keep Your Heart Open? (For Susan) from For Freedoms' Awakening Campaign, 2020
Courtesy of For Freedoms and Unfinished. Photographed in Omaha, NE by Jeff Scroggins.

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.

“Keeping your heart open isn’t tidy and flawless. It isn’t about achieving closure.

It is a continual process of exploration, feeling, risk-taking, and revising."

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.

Belonging Bandana by Christine Wong Yap
Belonging Bandana (inspired by NYYLY), Christine Wong Yap, 2019.
100 Stories of Belonging by Christine Wong Yap
100 Stories of Belonging in the S.F. Bay Area, Christine Wong Yap & Contributors, 2019.

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.

How I Keep Looking Up by Christine Wong Yap
How Do I Keep Looking Up, Christine Wong Yap with Encore Community Services, New York, 2021.
Public artwork developed during Yap's residency with Times Square Arts. Photographed by Mike Vitelli.
“I aim to reflect the values of accessibility, transparency, generosity and reciprocity.”

With community and care running throughout her practice, Yap works towards a universal homecoming for all who encounter her art.

All artworks courtesy of the artist.
Studio shoot by Andria Lo at Kala Arts Institute in Berkeley, California.

IN THE STUDIO WITH
CHRISTINE WONG YAP
Christine Wong Yap Studio Shoot
Christine Wong Yap Studio Shoot
Christine Wong Yap Studio Shoot
Christine Wong Yap Studio Shoot
Christine Wong Yap Studio Shoot
“How do you keep your heart open? is a central question in my art practice.”
Christine Wong Yap Studio Shoot
Christine Wong Yap Studio Shoot
Christine Wong Yap Studio Shoot
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Christine Wong Yap Portrait