Albert Chong (born 1958) is an artist of African and Chinese descent. His works are mainly photographs, but he also works with installations and sculptures. Chong states that the purpose of much of his art is to "represent and reanimate his family history." He has said that he uses his family heritage as "an alternative way of putting more out there that's about people of color, letting other stories be heard, other viewpoints".
Chong was born in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1958. His parents ran a grocery store and his father was a well-respected justice of the peace. His multicultural heritage is described in an L.A. times article: "Half-Chinese, half-Jamaican Chong was raised Catholic but has followed Rastafarianism, the Ethiopian-inspired political/religious movement, and Santeria, the syncretic religion forged by African slaves living under Christian domination in the Caribbean." The article also relates an episode from Chong's early childhood, wherein his father brought both a Catholic priest and an Obeahman shaman to bless a new house they had bought in Jamaica.
Chong immigrated permanently to the United States in 1977, settling first with his sisters in Brooklyn. He attended the School of Visual Arts in New York City from 1978 to 1981, and in 1981, Chong started his exhibiting career. In 1988, his family moved to San Diego, and Chong attended the University of California, San Diego. In 1991, Chong received his Master of Fine Arts degree from that university.
Chong's artwork consists mostly of photography and installation. His works deal with many topics, including the problems of African diaspora identity and Chong's own ancestry and identity. A page on his site describes the tropes and issues surrounding many of his works. Most of his photography is of still lifes, both in black-and-white and in color.
These links lead to galleries on Chong's official website.
- Black-and-white and color still lifes, which have been described by the artist as "performances in a way, too," with the assembling of objects "as a sacred ritual act, a gathering together of objects of power".
- Thrones Series
- I-Traits (Self-Portraits), which according to the L.A. Times, are "named for the Rastafarian belief that the eye and the 'I' are profoundly linked means of perception".
Chong lives in the United States and has taught at several different colleges and universities. From 1982 to 1988, he taught at the School of Visual Arts in New York City; from 1989 to 1991 at Mira Costa College in Oceanside, California; and from 1996 to 1997 at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Rhode Island.
- 1992 - Individual Artist Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts
- 1998 - Guggenheim Fellowship in photography
- 1998 - Pollock Krasner Grant
- "About The Artist" Albert Chong.com. Retrieved 7 August 2008.
- Ollman, Leah (October 10, 1993). "Capturing the Spirit World on Film : Albert Chong's artistic recipe blends Jamaica, Catholicism, Santeria and America in an eclectic artistic stew". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 16 March 2016.
- Hemmings, Brad T., "Albert Chong - Caribbean Hall of Fame", Caribbean Hall of Fame. Retrieved 8 August 2008.
- Guh, Jessica. "Albert Chong". Stanford Institute for Diversity in the Arts, Stanford University. Retrieved 7 August 2008.