Artist Statement

                                       Albert Chong

I have been able to create an extensive and varied body of art in photography and installation art with the occasional forays into video, sculpture and artist books. My early works in photography earned critical recognition for its contribution to the multiculturism movement in the visual arts specifically my visual narratives on race, identity, family, nationalism, mysticism and spirituality as expressed in art.  

Art for me is a process of deep communication that has few parallels in the creative world. It permits and encourages an exchange of ideas at a faster rate and with more accessibility and subtle nuances than conventional methods of communication. I think of art as humanity’s second language, a universal tongue that has infinite dialects that has infinite meanings and ideas that can be clearly transmitted if the artist so desires. My work has sought to give expression to my human visual intuition that operates at levels inhospitable to verbal or literary expression. Each work can function independently but is connected to the larger body of art that seeks to give my perspective on the story of our humanity and our rapidly disintegrating connection to the natural world. That perspective ranges from aesthetic beauty for its own sake to the personal, political and a numerous other concerns that could be said to constitute my artistic vision.

My work has made significant contributions to visual culture in the last thirty years and has been included in many important significant museum exhibitions. I have been selected to be the artist representative of my home country Jamaica in numerous international exhibitions including the Havana Biennial in Cuba twice, the Sao Paulo Biennial in Brazil in 1998, the Johannesburg Biennial in 1994 and the Venice Biennial in 2001. Most recently I represented Jamaica in the Santo Domingo Triennial in the Dominican Republic.

My art is also in numerous private and corporate, international and national art collections and has been written about in many publications from Art in America to the New York Times and has been published in many books on art including books on the History of photography, books on Jamaican, Caribbean, Asian -American and African-American art. I have also been awarded grants and fellowships in support of and in recognition of my work in the visual arts. These include state,national and individual artist grants from New York, California and Colorado as well as a National Endowment for the Art Fellowship in Photography, the Pollock-Krasner grant and the Guggenheim Fellowship in photography in 1998.  

My most recent body of work is titled the Tile Photomosaics. The work consist of image transfers onto four or six inch tiles ceramic or stone tiles in grids that constitute a larger image.  The largest of these works is six feet square and are attached to the wall by Velcro. The narrative themes operating in these works span the gamut of issues from blatantly political portraits of Presidents Bush & Obama made from the portraits of thousands of dead soldiers to a portrait of activist and former Black Panther Party member Angel Davis with her iconic Afro made from the portraits of thousands of African American women with processed hair. Another work renders an environmental message in stark global symbolism. The Tile Photomosaics has the mass and presence of sculpture and the transmissive abilities of photography.

Albert Chong

June 22, 2011