Richard Fung 

(Trinidad and Tobago, b. 1954)

 

Fung was born into a Chino-Trinidadian household. His mother, the daughter of Chinese laborers who immigrated to Trinidad in the nineteenth century, is the subject of one of his video pieces, My Mother’s Place (1990), which examines her divided heritage. Fung’s family eventually moved to Toronto, where the artist now lives and works. Fung studied at the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD) and later took courses in film studies and sociology at the University of Toronto. Today, he is a well-established video artist and a professor at OCAD.  

Fung’s video art focuses on issues of migration, race, and bigotry, sometimes drawing on his family’s experiences of diaspora and colonialism. In his video piece Islands (2002), he uses the John Huston film Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison to comment on racism and indentureship as part of the brutal legacy of colonialism. In the video, the artist reveals how the movie, set in 1944 in the Pacific, was in fact filmed in Tobago in 1956, using Trinidadian Chinese extras to play Japanese soldiers. He makes the case that his uncle is one of those extras. 

Fung has published the book 13 Conversations about Art and Cultural Race Politics (2002), coedited with Monika Kin Gagnon. He has shown his videos in several exhibitions in Trinidad and Tobago, the United States, and Canada, as well as in Europe and Asia. In 2011, he exhibited at the AMA | Art Museum of the Americas in the exhibition Wrestling with the Image: Caribbean Interventions.