Steven Yao-Chee Wong



I was born a rat in 4670 in the City of Angels. I became an artist at the age of 3 when I couldn’t understand my family dinners (which were often spoken in Shanghainese) and my mom provided me with crayons to keep me busy. At the age of 13, I became a graffiti artist and learned the art of resistance and rebellion by decorating the city with pretty, stylized letters in spray paint.

My goal, as both a scholar and an artist, is to explore the histories of communities that are often marginalized within the discourse of the contemporary arts. Further, I see my work as providing an avenue to present concepts that engage the community and generate new and more provocative ideas for discourse. In general, my work is inspired by the construction of power relationships. Once these power relationships are identified, I often attempt to find parallels, critique, subvert, or even embrace these relationships.

My new work, Chinatown Stories marks a return to directly addressing power relationships within an Asian American context and stresses the ability of the disenfranchised to exert the power to define and redefine cultural signifiers.


Steven Yao-Chee Wong earned a B.A. in Fine Arts from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1996, in addition to an M.A. in Asian American Studies in 1998. In 2000, Wong received an M.F.A. from the University of California, Santa Barbara. His work focuses on the exploration of Asian Pacific American identity, history, and the struggles of minority communities in the United States. Wong’s installation-based work has been shown in many group exhibitions as well as a one-person exhibition at Highways Gallery in Santa Monica. He has served as a guest lecturer and visiting faculty member at various institutions throughout southern California.


Back to 2003 Exhibition Index Chinatown Stories: Realizing the Imagined