January 2021
Singapore Art Week

Yee I-Lann

Kota Kinabalu / Silverlens Galleries

Yee I-Lann’s (b. 1971, Malaysia) work is primarily a photo media-based art practice that speculates on issues of culture, power and the role of historical memory in our social experience. Such layers necessitate an extensive and multi-layered visual vocabulary drawn from research, historical references, popular culture, archives and everyday objects. Recently, she incorporated indigenous mediums such as batik as well as bamboo, mengkuang and pandanus weaving into her work.

The Tikar Meja or “Mat Table” display a juxtaposition between tables and woven mats teasing out a variety of meanings this partnership, or collision, may expose. The commonality, everydayness of mats trigger personal memories, experiences, and speak of communities and shared traditional communal culture. The table, a recurring motif in I-Lann’s practice, has come to represent power in her lexicon; colonial, patriarchal, federal. As there are different tables across the works, there are different types of power symbolized – the administrative, the corporate, and in the social space. Many words exist in Austronesian vernacular languages for “mat” such as tikar in Malay, banig in Tagalog, tepo in Sama-Bajau. The word for “table” in Malay is meja, mesa in Tagalog, both coming from the Spanish and Portuguese, introduced through colonization. These 9 of 60 Tikar Meja, woven by the indigenous and stateless Bajau Sama DiLaut women of Pulau Omadal in the Sulu Sea near Semporna, Sabah, claim and speak back of a different kind of power

Yee I-Lann graduated from the University of South Australia (Adelaide) with a BA (Visual Arts) majoring in Photography and minoring in Cinematography.

Yee I-Lann will be presenting her works with Silverlens Galleries.