Albert Chong is a contemporary artist working in the mediums of photography, installation and sculpture. His works have dealt directly with personal mysticism, spirituality, race and identity and numerous other topics as well as celebrating the beauty of images and objects. His main bodies of photographic work have been in the genres of still life in black and white and color. These works range from playful juxtapositions and formal still life to works that represent and reanimate Chong’s family history. Here we learn about Aunt Winnie, Justice, Miss Peggy, we gain an insight into one family’s story from Jamaica’s past. Chong’s other works in the photographic medium include his Throne for the Ancestors Series and his portraits of artist friends and of Jamaicans in Various parts of Jamaica.
My work in photography sometimes utilizes found, appropriated and familial photographs as well as many types of objects primarily of a organic nature that serve as shamanic talismans and symbolic and referential signifiers. These works aspire to visually embed the narratives of race and ethnicity with the aesthetic whimsy required to sublimate and catalyze meaning and references. These works use analog and digital layering to create the sometimes dense but usually simple arrangements that infer, relate, connect and signify the complex nature of the struggles of the displaced peoples of the Asian and African diaspora.
Albert Chong was born in Kingston, Jamaica, W. I. in 1958. He is the last of eight children of merchant Chinese Jamaica parents. Chong immigrated to the USA in 1977 at the age of 19 years. He lived in Brooklyn and attended the School of Visual Arts in New York City where he received a BFA with Honors in 1981.
Chong became active in the New York art scene up until 1988 when he left to go to Graduate School at the University of California in San Diego. He received his MFA from UCSD in 1991 and in the same year accepted a faculty appointment at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Chong is presently professor or art at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Chong has also taught at the School of Visual Arts in New York City from 1982 – 88. Mira Costa College in Oceanside California from 1989-91 and Rhode Island School of Design in Providence from 1996 –97
Chong has received various prestigious awards for his work in the visual arts. These include a 1992 Individual artist Fellowship from the national Endowment for the Arts. In 1998 he was awarded the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship in the field of photography and in the same year the Pollock Krasner Grant. Chong has also been commissioned by Absolut Vodka to add his work to the ongoing series in the work titled Absolut Chong.
Chong’s art in whatever form has been a constant presence in Museums and Galleries internationally for the last two decades. His work has contributed to the discourse around race, identity and spirituality in art and is in collections public, private and corporate and has been featured in publications, books and periodicals too numerous to mention. He has represented his home country Jamaica in many international biennials, national and international exhibitions, including the 2001 Venice Benniale, the 1998 Sao Paulo Biennale and the seventh Havana Biennial in Cuba in 2000.