Being Chinese-Australian: hosted by Benjamin Law
With William Yang, Rainbow Chan and Debbie Lee
Prominent Sydney creatives from the art, theatre, TV and music worlds delve into their own personal experiences of identity, tradition and art-making. Benjamin Law hosts a conversation with celebrated Sydney artist William Yang, producer Debbie Lee and acclaimed musician Rainbow Chan as they discuss what it means to be Chinese- Australian today and how a person’s heritage can influence identity and creative practice.
Benjamin Law is a journalist, columnist, TV screenwriter, radio host and author of Gaysia: adventures in the queer East and Quarterly essay 67: Moral panic 101. His 2010 memoir, The family law, was the basis for an award winning TV series for SBS which he created and co-writes. He has written for over 50 publications in Australia and beyond—including the Monthly, The Good Weekend and The Guardian has a PhD in creative writing from QUT. Every week, Benjamin co-hosts ABC RN’s weekly national pop culture show Stop everything. He has appeared on a number of TV shows including Q&A (ABC), The drum (ABC) and The project (Ten), and is currently working on a play for the Melbourne Theatre Company.
William Yang is a writer, photographer, visual artist and performer. He worked as a freelance photographer in the early 1970’s documenting Sydney’s social life, which included the glamorous, celebrity set and the hedonistic, sub-cultural, gay community. His first solo exhibition, Sydneyphiles, caused a sensation in 1978. In 1989, he integrated his skills as a writer and a visual artist and began to perform monologues with slide projection in theatres, which is now the main expression of his work. His eleven full-length works have toured the world and three have been converted into film and screened on ABC TV including My generation, Friends of dorothy and Blood links. Sadness, his most successful piece, was made into an award winning film by Tony Ayres in 1999.
Rainbow Chan is a singer, producer and multi-disciplinary artist based in Sydney. Born in Hong Kong and raised in Sydney, Rainbow is interested in mistranslations, diaspora and the effects of globalisation on modern Chinese society. Chan has toured extensively including performances at the Sydney Opera House, Iceland Airwaves and the International New Media Arts Festival in China. She has worked with Music NSW as a mentor for Women in Electronic Music, and recently sound-tracked the ABC documentary, The glass bedroom. Her song Let Me won FBi Radio’s SMAC Award 2017 for Best Song and she is currently working on her sophomore record for release in 2019.
Debbie Lee is the director of scripted development at Matchbox Pictures. Debbie provides creative leadership to the development of scripted content across a broad range of genres and markets. She also serves as an executive producer on a number of television projects including Safe harbour, The Family law and The heights. Before joining Matchbox, Debbie was ABC TV’s head of comedy, commissioning and executive producing shows including A moody Christmas, Please like me, and The strange calls. She has also worked as executive producer for arts and entertainment at the ABC as well as series producer and commissioning editor for drama and comedy at SBS Independent, commissioning shows like Wilfred, John Safran vs. God and The circuit amongst many others.
Image: William Yang.