Owen Leong is a Sydney-based contemporary artist exploring the transmission of culture and the body as a physical site of exchange. His work transforms the body through fictional selves to open a space for new identities to come into being. In recent work, Leong engages more deeply with his heritage; turning towards Chinese medicine, philosophy, and ancient systems of cultural knowledge to explore the poetics of healing.
Photography, video, sculpture and installation are all vehicles for Leong’s unsettling yet seductive ‘story portraits’ that blur the boundaries between his real and performed selves. His body is a participatory force, co-opted as image and object; an expressive medium for his politically and culturally freighted images and themes of cultural disembodiment and constructions of power and is a persuasive platform for the making and un-making of social meanings and values.
Leong has exhibited widely in Australia and internationally including solo exhibitions at Dianne Tanzer Gallery + Projects (Melbourne), Artereal Gallery (Sydney) and 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art (Sydney). His work has been exhibited in major group exhibitions at Today Art Museum (Beijing), Zendai Museum of Modern Art (Shanghai), OCT Contemporary Art Terminal (Shenzhen) and the National Museum of Poznan (Poland).
Owen Leong holds a Master of Fine Arts by research at College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales, where he studied printmaking, sculpture, performance and installation, and was the recipient of a prestigious Australian Postgraduate Award.
Leong has been the recipient of numerous awards and grants from the Australia Council for the Arts, Ian Potter Cultural Trust, Art Gallery of NSW and Asialink. In 2016 Owen Leong was the winner of the MAMA National Photography Prize. Owen was also previously the winner of the Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Award (2015), the People’s Choice Award in the Bowness Photography Prize (2009), and the Works on Paper category of the Churchie National Emerging Art Prize (2007). He has been selected as a finalist in numerous important national photography prizes including the Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Award (2015; 2014), the Asia Pacific Breweries Foundation Signature Art Prize in Singapore (2014), the Bowness Photography Prize (2014, 2009), and the Helen Lemprière Traveling Art Scholarship (2006, 2005, 2004).
He has held residencies at Artspace (Sydney), Centre for Contemporary Chinese Art (Manchester), Cité Internationale des Arts (Paris), Tokyo Wonder Site (Japan) and the Swatch Art Peace Hotel (Shanghai). Leong’s work is held in the public collection of Bendigo Art Gallery, Gold Coast City Art Gallery, Murray Art Museum Albury, the Swatch Art Peace Hotel, and private collections in Australia and internationally.
Owen Leong is currently in-residence at Parramatta Artists Studios.