Dorcas Tang 邓佳颖

Dorcas Tang’s Love Me Long Time is an expansive project which explores themes of intimacy and desire in the broader Asian diaspora. It is also Tang’s first solo show, exhibiting at 4A Centre for Contemporary Australian Art.

Dorcas Tang 邓佳颖 is an artist and researcher who asks many questions, and understands the transient nature of identity. She not only applies institutional critique to her practice, but draws from an inherent need to comprehend the complexities, binaries, and liminalities of her surroundings. 

She majored in Studio Arts and minored in Educational Studies and Spanish at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, US. This led Tang down a path of research and travel. Her first major project, Los Paisanos del Puerto, 2018–ongoing, is a series of audio interviews with the Chinese diaspora of Puntarenas, Costa Rica. She followed up with the photographic series Señorita China, 2019, where she documented the beauty pageants of the Chinese diaspora in San José, Costa Rica. These works began to define Tang’s practice and desire to ask “broader questions about identity, culture, and communities,” as she states at our meeting at LAB Bakery Café in Strathfield, Sydney.

Tang is creating a unique space for herself as a conscious photographer who extends the utmost care for her subjects, and for herself behind the lens with her camera, voice recorder, and writing tools. She is especially mindful of the power dynamic between subject and photographer, and caters to the needs of her subjects. Her subjects become collaborators as she prioritises their comfort through her methods of enquiry. 

This exchange is shown in the care that is taken before Tang photographs her collaborators, as she provides them with cues and questions which they can reflect on before the portrait sessions. She allows her collaborators to leave questions unanswered, or candidly reveal as much as they’d like. It is also reflected in the imprint of her photographs, which demonstrate her collaborators’ comfortability to reveal sincere, vulnerable, or joyous moments.

For her first solo show at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Tang is growing her ongoing series Love Me Long Time, 2021–ongoing, which was first commissioned by Runway Journal in 2021. Love Me Long Time is an expansive audio and photographic project exploring themes of desire, intimacy, and Asian identities. It creates a rare space for women and non-binary Asians to speak about the softness, taboos, and diverse experiences of desire and intimacy which are unique to Asian diaspora. Love Me Long Time carefully and kindly addresses the burning questions and intimate moments many Asian women and non-binary identities have but feel isolated from, or feel the need to keep concealed.    

This essay was originally published in Artist Profile, Issue 62, 2023.

Dorcas Tang 邓佳颖: Love Me Long Time
25 February – 9 April 2023
4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Sydney

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