Born in Shanghai, China in 1958, Dongwang Fan studied traditional Chinese art at Shanghai School of Arts and Crafts (SSAC) in 70's and later became an art teacher at SSAC. As an established Shanghai artist, his work exhibited regularly in Shanghai Art Gallery since 1982, including 1986 Shanghai Art Museum Inaugural Art Exhibition, 1987 Shanghai International Art Festival. As a member of the top professional body Chinese Artists Association he was awarded the Prize for Excellent Work for Shanghai International Culture Exchange. In 1990 Fan migrated to Australia as an artist of ‘Distinguished Talent'. He studied Master of Arts at COFA, NSW University in 1995, and received Post Graduate Award and completed Doctor of Creative Art at Wollongong University in 1999. His doctoral theses Shifting Perspectives and the Body established a theoretical model for comparing the differences between the representation of spatial depth in Chinese and European paintings. Currently lives and works in Sydney. 

In Australia, Fan exhibited at National Gallery of Australia in 2000, and numerous university and regional art galleries throughout Australia. He was invited to participate in the 2005 Redlands Westpac Art Prize and the 2004 Australian Drawing Biennale in Canberra. Fan was featured in an Australian national touring exhibition, Shanghai Star, along with other leading international Chinese artists, organized by Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre. The exhibition won critical acclaim and from 2002 to 2004 it toured to ten regional galleries nationwide including Perth Institute of Contemporary Art. Fan also participated in the Blake Prize in 1998, 2002, 2007 and 2008 Blake Prize for Religious Art Touring Exhibition to Icon Museum of Art, Deakin University; Gippsland Regional Gallery; Delmar Trinity Gallery; Horsham Regional Gallery. From Mao to Now at Armory Gallery, Sydney Olympic Park 2008. Coming Home -Art Exhibition of 30 Chinese/Australian Artists at Linda Gallery, 798 Art District, Dashanzi, Beijing China. 2009. Sponsored by Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. 2009 and 2010 Carriage Artworks - Contemporary Art from the City Fringe at Carriageworks Sydney. Controversy & Acclaim-60 years of the Mosman Art Prize, Mosman Art Gallery 2009. Sustain, A joint exhibition of Artbank and Australia Council for the Arts 2009. The 2010 Inaugural Documentary Exhibition of Australian Chinese Art at Sydney Chinalink Gallery. Arboreal. Macquarie University Art Gallery, Sydney 2011. Adelaide Perry Prize for Drawing. Adelaide Perry Gallery, Presbyterian Ladies' College, Sydney 2012. Chinese and Indian art exhibition, Macquarie University Art Gallery 2012, West Ryde Festival of Hungry for Art 2012; Festival of Fisher's Ghost Art Award 2012. Chinese Art Exhibition in Beijing Artist Space, 798 Art District, Dashanzi, Beijing China 2012. Blake Pirze 2012; Snake Snake Snake -An exhibition of contemporary Asian Australian Artists, Sydney Town Hall 2013.

Fan held many major solo exhibitions: Fan Dongwang Dragon in Water Exhibition at Wilson Street gallery Sydney 2011; Fan Dongwang-Entering the Dragon at Macquarie University Art Gallery Sydney 2009; Fan Dongwang Recent Painting Exhibition at Wilson Street gallery Sydney 2009; Vantage Point at Manning Regional Gallery and Coffts Harbour City Gallery in 2006; In 2005, Crossed Worlds at Sydney College of the Arts Galleries, Sydney University; Vantage Point at Macquarie University Art Gallery Sydney; and Descendant at Church Gallery in Perth; In 2002, China Maze at Ray Hughes Gallery in Sydney; 2000 Shifting Perspective at Drill Hall Gallery; 1999 Cultural Ambivalence at Wollongong City Gallery.

Fanwas awarded Australia Council Visual Art New Work Grant four times from 2009 to 2001; 2006 Mosman Art Prize; 2004 Art on the Rocks Prize; 2003 Ian Potter Cultural Trust Grant; 2002 Liverpool City Art Prize; 2002 Willoughby City Art Prize; and 2000 Festival of Fisher's Ghost Art Award. His installation Descendant was commissioned by Australian National Gallery in 2000. 
Fan's paintings are represented in public collections of Shanghai Art Museum, the Artbank, Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, Mosman Council, Wollongong City Gallery, Campbelltown City Gallery, Casula Powerhouse, Dubbo Regional Gallery, Manning Regional Gallery, Australian National University, Sydney University, NSW University, Macquarie University, Wollongong University, Curtin University, Murdoch University and Shanghai School of Arts and Crafts.

Fan has many residency experiences: was visiting artist at Manning Regional Gallery and Coffts Harbour City Gallery in 2006; Art Angels Artist in Residence at Church Gallery in Perth; a Visiting fellow at Cutin University in 2005, A visiting artist at Macquarie University and Church Gallery in 2005; Manning Regional Art Gallery and Broken Hill City Art Gallery in 2003; Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre and Wollongong University in 2001; Canberra School of Art, ANU in 2000. Fan was also a guest lecturer at Wollongong University in 2003 and at ANU in 2000.