Anna Tong

Location: London


Born in Manchester, Anna descends from early Chinese migrants who arrived in the UK in the 1910s; her great-grandfather set up the first Chinese restaurant in London.

Anna’s father’s academic career meant an early life on the move for her; different countries, different schools, different people. Spanning cultures has been a source of inspiration - her upbringing sparked her curiosity in people and psyches. In her work, she explores the diverse subjects of time, memory, science, and the human condition.

After a 17-year career in technology (many of those years at Google), ‘Dwelling’ marks a return to Anna’s childhood dream of becoming an artist. She initially trained at Wimbledon College of Arts, followed by an English Literature BA Hons at the University of Warwick, and postgraduate studies at Motley Theatre Design School. “Dwelling” is her first step into the art world.


Submitted work

Title: Dwelling

About the work

“Dwelling” explores the stories of residents of four apartments in a busy metropolis - their ambitions, realisations, mistakes. Created during Lockdown, I worked in miniature scale as our world shrank and our homes took on new meaning.

We unpick each resident’s story through clues in their apartment. They had hopes for the future, yet their stories took unexpected turns. They’re neighbours but strangers, isolated despite proximity.

In Search of Nonlinear Time:
An immigrant’s tale. This apartment explores identity, displacement, courage of immigrants who left to pursue brighter futures.

In The Presence of The Departed:
The Unexpected. Exploring grief, time, and the aftermath of the occupant’s shattered dream when tragedy interrupts a seemingly idyllic life.

When The Party's Over:
Illusions. Social climbing/appearance are addictive preoccupations. Ghostly sheets are a frozen reminder of past ambitions.

A journey forming. Images on walls reflect the sleeper’s inner turmoil, their future unclear.

‘’To mentally escape the pandemic, I started to create. I never imagined these creations would end up in the Saatchi gallery! Creating again reignited my childhood dream of becoming an artist. Life took me in a different direction, but that desire never died. Winning this award would feel like incredible validation. I hope it inspires people who’ve pressed pause on long-held ambitions to keep going, showing that revival is possible.’’