Ping Chong

Doris Duke Artist Award, 2013

New York, NY

Ping Chong is an internationally acclaimed theatre artist and pioneer in the use of media in the theater. Since 1972, he has created over 90 works for the stage, which have been presented at major festivals and theatres worldwide. In 1992, he created the first work in the Undesirable Elements series of community-based oral history projects. Since the start, over 50 productions have been created in the series, including the 2015 BEYOND SACRED: Voices of Muslim Identity; it is currently touring. His adaptation of Kurosawa’s THRONE OF BLOOD was presented at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival in 2010. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a USA Artist Fellowship, two BESSIE awards, and two OBIE awards. His work has been supported by the MAP Fund and the Jim Henson Foundation, among others. In 2014, he received a National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama.

  • Photo Credit: Adam Nadel
    Ping Chong
  • Ping Chong- BEYOND SACRED: Voices of Muslim Identity (2015):
    BEYOND SACRED: Voices of Muslim Identity (2015)
  • Ping Chong- Native Voices - Secret History (2005):
    Native Voices - Secret History (2005)
  • Ping Chong- Cathay: Three Tales of China (2005):
    Cathay: Three Tales of China (2005)
  • Ping Chong- Blind Ness: The Irresistible Light of Encounter (2004):
    Blind Ness: The Irresistible Light of Encounter (2004)
  • Photo Credit: Oregon Shakespeare Festival
    Throne of Blood (2010)
  • Photo Credit: Adam Nadel
    Cry for Peace: Voices from the Congo (2012)
  • Photo Credit: Adam Nadel
    Secret Survivors (2012)

Suppose you just met someone who didn't know your work, what project from the past 10 years would you direct them to as an entry point to you and your work, and why?

I would direct them to look at two very different, but thematically related pieces, which are representative of the scope of my work in recent years: Blind Ness: The Irresistible Light of Encounter (2004) and Cry For Peace: Voices from the Congo (2012). Blind Ness explores the tragic history of colonialism in the Belgian Congo (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo). Using text, movement, puppetry, and projection, Blind Ness intercuts the narrative of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness with the real-life figures of King Leopold II of Belgium, who acquired the Belgian Congo as a personal colony, and the courageous activists, such as Roger Casement, E.D. Morel, and William Sheppard, who orchestrated one of the first global mass-media human rights campaigns to reveal and halt his abuses. Cry For Peace looks at the reality of the Congo today, through the first-person testimonies of Congolese refugees who are seeking peace and reconciliation in their adopted hometown of Syracuse, NY, and are part of a new movement towards global justice.