Borneo Heart

I-Lann Yee
Sabah International Convention Centre, Kota Kinabalu

Videos

About

    Borneo Heart presents the work of Kota Kinabalu-born and based artist Yee I-Lann, made in collaboration with weavers, filmmakers, dancers, other fellow creative producers and friends.

    Yee I-Lann’s practice has consistently spoken to urgencies in the contemporary world, from the vantage point of where she lives and comes from, mining personal story, Southeast Asian cultures and histories, local knowledge, critical theory, and mass aesthetics and experience.

    Borneo Heart turns on two concepts: the tikar (woven mat) as a collective platform for community, storytelling and ritual, and the tamu (weekly market) as a meeting place for the exchange of goods, stories and ideas. It proposes ways of rethinking how space is made and shared, and ways in which art-making can activate systemic change.

    “Traditionally in the Southeast Asia region, all communities sat on mats on the ground, had a tradition of making mats. The tikar, or mat, for me, is intrinsically feminist, representing a communal, egalitarian power that comes from old knowledges, heritage, culture.

    The tamu is a traditional farmers’ market in Sabah, where people of different geographies, whether of the hills, plains, rivers or the sea meet to exchange their respective produce – rice for salt, woven cloth for woven ratan. It forms the foundation of a socio-political landscape. It is where you exchange news and stories, fight and fall in love, where you get to know who your neighbour is. It is a celebration of the other, and diversity.”

    Since 2018, Yee I-Lann has been collaborating with DusunMurut weavers in the Keningau interior and with Bajau Sama Dilaut weavers from Pulau Omadal, Semporna to make tikar. In the process, a craft community bound to the tourist market has found opportunities for innovation, and a village community has turned from fishing to weaving, in turn reducing pressure on the Coral Triangle. A unique language of making has developed, bringing the weavers’ skills, knowledge and stories together with Yee’s ideas and propositions, often making strong statements calling for a politics of inclusion: “This body of work claims and celebrates communities and their geographies, often at the peripheries, that give shape to the center.”

    Borneo Heart showcases these tikar, including TIKAR/MEJA, a 60- tikar installation, Tikar Reben, a 63m tikar created to stretch between the water village of the stateless weavers and the adjacent Malaysian village on Pulau Omadal, “karaoke mats” woven with song lyrics in English and KadazanDusun, and a giant emoji mat, among others, and a seven- headed Lalandau headdress, alongside Yee’s works involving performance, video and photomedia.

    The exhibition also marks the first full presentation of Rasa Sayang, a 488-piece “essay” on love andcountry in photomedia begun in 2012 and completed in 2021, where the alphabet is created from images of human hugs.

    Many languages meet in the exhibition – the digital pixel and the tikar weave, traditional and contemporary motifs, popular song, bodily gesture and sound, photographic image, script, positioning art-making and aesthetics as a means of bridging and understanding diverse experiences and stories.

    Borneo Heart offers a shared platform and a site of exchange for the peoples of tanah (land) and air (water/sea), and for traditional and contemporary art practices, prompting us to reflect on home and distance, power, agency and representation, love and community.

    The spirit of exchange comes alive in a physical tamu, an art, craft and sustainable produce market by vendors from across Sabah communities, to be held on the weekend of 8 and 9 May, curated and organized by KeTAMU. Within the exhibition, a Kerbauworks exhibition shop will be selling tikar woven by the artist’s collaborators and merchandise designed by Yee I-Lann and friends. Workshops, discussions and performances are also scheduled as part of the exhibition programme.

    Borneo Heart is held across three spaces at Annexe A & B, Jesselton Plaza, Sabah International Convention Centre, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, 2 to 31 May 2021. Open daily, Mon-Fri 11am-5pm, Sat/Sun 10am-6pm. 

    Born in Kota Kinabalu in 1971, Yee I-Lann currently lives and works in Kota Kinabalu in the Malaysian Borneo state of Sabah. Her primarily photomedia-based practice engages with archipelagic Southeast Asia’s turbulent history with works addressing issues of colonialism and neo-colonialism, power, and the impact of historical memory in social experience, often with particular focus on counter-narrative “histories from below”. She employs a complex, multi-layered visual vocabulary drawn from historical references, popular culture, archives, and everyday objects. She has in recent years started working collaboratively with sea-based and land-based communities and indigenous mediums in Sabah. She is a co-founding associate of The Ricecooker Archives: Southeast Asian Rock ’n’ Roll Treasury with her partner Joe Kidd and has worked as a production designer in the Malaysian film industry. She is currently a Board member for Forever Sabah and Tamparuli Living Arts Center (TaLAC), both based in Sabah

    I-Lann has worked in art department and as a production designer in the Malaysian film industry since 1994 and between 2003-2008 established the production design department and lectured at Akademi Seni Budaya dan Warisan Kebangsaan (ASWARA). With her partner, rock n roll subculture archivist, musician and designer Joe Kidd they share KerbauWorks a cross-discipline project label and space. She is currently a Board member for Forever Sabah and Tamparuli Living Arts Center (TaLAC), both based in Sabah and a co-founding partner of KOTA-K Studio in Tanjung Aru Old Town, Kota Kinabalu.

Borneo Heart presents the work of Kota Kinabalu-born and based artist Yee I-Lann, made in collaboration with weavers, filmmakers, dancers, other fellow creative producers and friends.

Yee I-Lann’s practice has consistently spoken to urgencies in the contemporary world, from the vantage point of where she lives and comes from, mining personal story, Southeast Asian cultures and histories, local knowledge, critical theory, and mass aesthetics and experience.

Borneo Heart turns on two concepts: the tikar (woven mat) as a collective platform for community, storytelling and ritual, and the tamu (weekly market) as a meeting place for the exchange of goods, stories and ideas. It proposes ways of rethinking how space is made and shared, and ways in which art-making can activate systemic change.

“Traditionally in the Southeast Asia region, all communities sat on mats on the ground, had a tradition of making mats. The tikar, or mat, for me, is intrinsically feminist, representing a communal, egalitarian power that comes from old knowledges, heritage, culture.

The tamu is a traditional farmers’ market in Sabah, where people of different geographies, whether of the hills, plains, rivers or the sea meet to exchange their respective produce – rice for salt, woven cloth for woven ratan. It forms the foundation of a socio-political landscape. It is where you exchange news and stories, fight and fall in love, where you get to know who your neighbour is. It is a celebration of the other, and diversity.”

Since 2018, Yee I-Lann has been collaborating with DusunMurut weavers in the Keningau interior and with Bajau Sama Dilaut weavers from Pulau Omadal, Semporna to make tikar. In the process, a craft community bound to the tourist market has found opportunities for innovation, and a village community has turned from fishing to weaving, in turn reducing pressure on the Coral Triangle. A unique language of making has developed, bringing the weavers’ skills, knowledge and stories together with Yee’s ideas and propositions, often making strong statements calling for a politics of inclusion: “This body of work claims and celebrates communities and their geographies, often at the peripheries, that give shape to the center.”

Borneo Heart showcases these tikar, including TIKAR/MEJA, a 60- tikar installation, Tikar Reben, a 63m tikar created to stretch between the water village of the stateless weavers and the adjacent Malaysian village on Pulau Omadal, “karaoke mats” woven with song lyrics in English and KadazanDusun, and a giant emoji mat, among others, and a seven- headed Lalandau headdress, alongside Yee’s works involving performance, video and photomedia.

The exhibition also marks the first full presentation of Rasa Sayang, a 488-piece “essay” on love andcountry in photomedia begun in 2012 and completed in 2021, where the alphabet is created from images of human hugs.

Many languages meet in the exhibition – the digital pixel and the tikar weave, traditional and contemporary motifs, popular song, bodily gesture and sound, photographic image, script, positioning art-making and aesthetics as a means of bridging and understanding diverse experiences and stories.

Borneo Heart offers a shared platform and a site of exchange for the peoples of tanah (land) and air (water/sea), and for traditional and contemporary art practices, prompting us to reflect on home and distance, power, agency and representation, love and community.

The spirit of exchange comes alive in a physical tamu, an art, craft and sustainable produce market by vendors from across Sabah communities, to be held on the weekend of 8 and 9 May, curated and organized by KeTAMU. Within the exhibition, a Kerbauworks exhibition shop will be selling tikar woven by the artist’s collaborators and merchandise designed by Yee I-Lann and friends. Workshops, discussions and performances are also scheduled as part of the exhibition programme.

Borneo Heart is held across three spaces at Annexe A & B, Jesselton Plaza, Sabah International Convention Centre, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, 2 to 31 May 2021. Open daily, Mon-Fri 11am-5pm, Sat/Sun 10am-6pm. 

Born in Kota Kinabalu in 1971, Yee I-Lann currently lives and works in Kota Kinabalu in the Malaysian Borneo state of Sabah. Her primarily photomedia-based practice engages with archipelagic Southeast Asia’s turbulent history with works addressing issues of colonialism and neo-colonialism, power, and the impact of historical memory in social experience, often with particular focus on counter-narrative “histories from below”. She employs a complex, multi-layered visual vocabulary drawn from historical references, popular culture, archives, and everyday objects. She has in recent years started working collaboratively with sea-based and land-based communities and indigenous mediums in Sabah. She is a co-founding associate of The Ricecooker Archives: Southeast Asian Rock ’n’ Roll Treasury with her partner Joe Kidd and has worked as a production designer in the Malaysian film industry. She is currently a Board member for Forever Sabah and Tamparuli Living Arts Center (TaLAC), both based in Sabah

I-Lann has worked in art department and as a production designer in the Malaysian film industry since 1994 and between 2003-2008 established the production design department and lectured at Akademi Seni Budaya dan Warisan Kebangsaan (ASWARA). With her partner, rock n roll subculture archivist, musician and designer Joe Kidd they share KerbauWorks a cross-discipline project label and space. She is currently a Board member for Forever Sabah and Tamparuli Living Arts Center (TaLAC), both based in Sabah and a co-founding partner of KOTA-K Studio in Tanjung Aru Old Town, Kota Kinabalu.

Works

I-Lann Yee
Borneo Heart
2019
6787
2
off-set print
23.39h x 33.11w in • 59.40h x 84.10w cm
0
0.00
PHP
0
Edition of 100
Details
I-Lann Yee
Tikar Reben
2020
6767
2
Bajau Sama DiLaut Pandanus weave with commercial chemical dye
8.66h x 2472.05w in • 22h x 6279w cm
2
0.00
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0
with weaving by Kak Roziah, Kak Sanah, Kak Kinnuhong, Kak Koddil

2 of 3
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I-Lann Yee
TIKAR/MEJA
2020
6768
2
Bajau Sama DiLaut Pandanus weave with commercial chemical dye
variable dimensions
0
0.00
USD
0

with weaving by Kak Sanah, Kak Kinnohung, Kak Budi, Kak Kuoh, Kak Turuh, Makcik Lokkop, Abang Barahim, Abang Tularan, Adik Darwisa, Adik Alisya, Kak Daiyan, Adik Dayang, Adik Tasya, Adik Dela, Adik Enidah, Adik Norsaida, Makcik Bobog, Kak Roziah, Abang Latip

Price available upon request
Details
I-Lann Yee
Tepo Aniya Nombor Na (Mat with a number)
2020
6786
2
Bajau Sama DiLaut Pandanus weave with commercial chemical dye
144.09h x 168.11w in • 366h x 427w cm
0
0.00
USD
0

with weaving by Kak Sanah, Kak Kinnuhong, Kak Budi, Kak Roziah, Adik Darwisa, Adik Enidah, Adik Dela, Adik Asima, Adik Dayang, Adik Tasya, Adik Alisya, Adik Erna
Details
I-Lann Yee
Tanahairku #003
2021
6785
2
Split bamboo pus weave with kayu obol black natural dye, matt sealant
62.99h x 87.80w in ∙ 160h x 223w cm
2
0.00
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0

with weaving by S. Narty Raitom, Julia Ginasius, Julitah Kulinting
Details
I-Lann Yee
Tanahairku #002
2020
6781
2
Bajau Sama DiLaut Pandanus weave with commercial chemical dye
151.18h x 181.10w in ∙ 384h x 460w cm
0
0.00
USD
0

with weaving by Kak Sanah, Kak Budi, Kak Roziah, Adik Koddil, Adik Darwisa, Adik Alisya, Adik Dela, Adik Enidah, Adik Asima, Adik Norsaida, Adik Erna, Adik Dayang, Adik Tasya
Details
I-Lann Yee
Mansau Ansau (To walk and walk without knowing where you are headed)
2021
6778
2
Split bamboo pus weave with kayu obol black natural dye, commercial chemical colour dyes, matt sealant
85.04h x 161.81w in ∙ 216h x 411w cm
1
0.00
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0
with weaving by Julitah Kulinting, S. Narty Raitom, Julia Ginasius, Hollyvia Kimin
Details
I-Lann Yee
Tinukad tukad kad (ridges at the top of the mouth)
2021
6789
2
Split bamboo pus weave with kayu obol black natural dye, commercial chemical colour dyes, matt sealant
78.74h x 135.24w in • 200h x 343.50w cm
1
0.00
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0

with weaving by Lili Naming, Siat Yanau, and Shahrizan Bin Juin
Details
I-Lann Yee
3 hovering Louvres
2019
6777
2
split bamboo pus weave and matt sealant
76h x 126w in ∙ 193.04h x 320.04w cm
1
0.00
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0

with weaving assistance by Julitah Kulinting, S. Narty Binti Raitom and Julia Binti Ginasius
Details
I-Lann Yee
& (white); & (black), Exploding (black), Exploding (white)
2021
6788
2
Split bamboo pus weave with kayu obol black natural dye, matt sealant
46.85h x 33.07w in • 119h x 84w cm
0
0.00
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0

with weaving by Siat Yanau, Johin Endelengau, Lili Naming and Shahrizan Bin Juin
Edition 8 + 1AP
Details
I-Lann Yee
Dusun Karaoke Mat: Ahaid zou noh doiti (I’ve been here a long time)
2020
6780
2
Split bamboo pus weave with kayu obol black natural dye, matt sealant
87.01h x 125w in ∙ 221h x 317.50w cm
3
0.00
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0
with weaving by Lili Naming, Siat Yanau, and Shahrizan Bin Juin
Details
I-Lann Yee
"hello from the outside"
2019
6779
2
split bamboo pus weave, black natural dye and matt sealant
88.58h x 143.31w in ∙ 225h x 364w cm
0
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0

with weaving assistance by Lili Naming, Siat Yanau, Mohamad Shahrizan Bin Juin, Juraen Bin Sapirin and S. Narty Binti Raitom
Details
I-Lann Yee
Rasa Sayang
2014
6776
2
digital inkjet pigment print on metallic paper
Rasa Sayang: 8.27h x 11.42w in (21h x 29w cm) each | 10 pieces
0
0.00
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0
Rasa Sayang, full set: Artwork size: 21 x 29 (Centimeters) x 488 pieces
Prints & Multiples
Edition 3 of 3 (only available as part of the full set)
Details
I-Lann Yee
Rasa Sayang: Chapter 2: (2014) in the dark dark heavy dark night i was listening to the secret sounds of the earth and i heard you and your sweat became that of fear didnt it in the dark dark heavy dark
2014
6775
2
digital inkjet pigment print on metallic paper
8.27h x 11.42w in (21h x 29w cm) each | 136 pieces
0
0.00
USD
0
Edition 3 of 3 (only available as part of the full set)
Details
I-Lann Yee
Rasa Sayang: Chapter 3: f**k that s**t oi you would you like a cup of tea who me i would love a cup of tea you and me and you and i and you and you am i drinking tea clouds part to share a moon
2016
6774
2
digital inkjet pigment print on metallic paper
8.27h x 11.42w in (21h x 29w cm) each | 128 pieces
0
0.00
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0
1 of 3
Details
I-Lann Yee
Rasa Sayang: Chapter 4: i wonder by my troth what thou and i did till we loved were we not weaned till then like water before heat i remain cubed
2018
6773
2
digital inkjet pigment print on metallic paper
8.27h x 11.42w in (21h x 29w cm) each | 96 pieces
0
0.00
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0
1 of 3
Details
Rasa Sayang: Chapter 5: paths of the wind weave shadows bare bones of a mat
2020
6784
2
digital inkjet pigment print on metallic paper
8.27h x 11.42w in (21h x 29w cm) each | 41 pieces
0
0.00
USD
0
1 0f 3
Details
I-Lann Yee
Rasa Sayang: Epilogue: send me your arms in an embrace
2021
6772
2
digital inkjet pigment print on metallic paper
8.27h x 11.42w in (21h x 29w cm) each | 25 pieces
1
0.00
PHP
0
1 of 3
Details
I-Lann Yee
7-headed Lalandau Hat
2020
6770
2
Split bamboo pus weave with kayu obol black natural dye, matt sealant
approximately 196.85 in (500 cm) when laid out
0
0.00
USD
0
2 of 3

with weaving by Lili Naming, Siat Yanau, Shahrizan Bin Juin
Details
I-Lann Yee
PANGKIS
2021
6771
2
single-channel video (00:09:30 min. loop)
2
0.00
USD
0
2 of 5

with weaving by Lili Naming, Siat Yanau, Shahrizan Bin Juin. Choreography by Mohd Azizan Danial Bin Abdullah; Dancers Jay Adner James, Carey Didier Chin, Mohd Hairul Azman Peter, Addam Jesley, Shahhijjaz Khan, Mohd Nazri Adam, Earl Steiner (Tagaps Dance Theatre). Cinematography by Al Hanafi Juhar; Lighting by Candy Yik (Huntwo Studios). Location: The Factory @ Inanam
Details
I-Lann Yee
Untitled Self- Portrait
2017
6790
2
Digital inkjet pigment print (Giclée) on Hahnemühle Photo Rag paper
62.99h x 33.07w in • 160h x 84w cm
0
0.00
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0
Edition 4 of 8
Details
I-Lann Yee
Measuring Project: Chapter 1
2021
6769
2
Digital inkjet pigment print (Giclée) on Hahnemühle Photo Rag paper
11.69h x 16.54w in ∙ 29.70h x 42w cm
0
0.00
USD
0
1 of 8
Details

Installation Views

Artists

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