"My work is about people; how we view ourselves and how we view others. There are an infinite number of people in this world, each and every one different, all wanting different things, all deciding who we are". - Ki Yoong

It's this sense of uniqueness and our perception of each other that I engage with. I want to express ideas about identity, diversity and representation through attributes including gender, sexuality, race, nationality and heritage in the people I paint.


Many portraits in history have indulged in reductive stereotypes of race, gender, sexuality and class. I want my portraits to change this by uncovering the complexities of identity, to explore how looking at a face can conjure something historical, social, political, belying its apparent simplicity and neutrality. I want to put the stillness of a face in the room and have it ask - What do you think of me? Who do you think I am? Why?


The tight cropping of the face in my work removes the usual signifiers of individual, community, cultural, and national identity. Instead, it relies on the viewer to ask questions about how they think they are different from this person and how they are the same, and how they build an identity for this person presented with just the simple features of a face. The gaze of these portraits becomes a mirror held up to the viewer, bringing into focus the viewer's histories, conceptions, prejudices, and questions how we make decisions about a person at face value.

Ki Yoong (b.1988) is an artist who lives and works in London. He completed a BA in Fine Art at The University of Leeds, and an MFA in Fine Art at Central Saint Martins. Recent selected group exhibitions include: The Picture, (Brooke Benington, London, 2023), Bright Young Things, (Alex Eagle, London, 2022), Strangers, (Prospect Mill, Leeds, 2022), Moving Forward, (Ally Capellino, London, 2021), The Summer Day, (The House of St Barnabas, London, 2021), Soft Sound, (Paul Smith Albermarle Street, London, 2021), Still Life, (Brodsworth Hall, Doncaster, 2020) and Oranges, (East Street Arts, Leeds, 2020). Ki has collaborated with a variety of brands and institutions including Vogue, Alex Eagle, Paul Smith and The House of St Barnabas. For the past three years, he has been Artist in Residence at Coppermill Primary School, Walthamstow, where he facilitates workshops with primary school children.