Art Basel OVR: Portals

I-Lann Yee
Curated By Christina Li, Magali Arriola, and Larry Osseih-Mensah
Online at Art Basel

About

    The tikar, as Yee I-Lann will tell us, and anyone who has grown up in Southeast Asia will know, is used for many things ­– for sleeping, eating, drying fish or rice; for community meetings and celebrations; for prayers, rituals.

    Different communities have different names for the woven mat. And although less and less common to modern life in cities, many communities in Sabah, Borneo, Southeast Asia and indeed the wider world, maintain particular traditions of mat-weaving and specific motifs, so that mats also carry different histories and meanings. They are almost always woven by women.

    For Yee I-Lann, who has been making and exhibiting her art in the global contemporary art world for over two decades, the journey with tikar began as a means of finding community as she relocated her practice from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu around 2016/2017.

    As an artist, activist and thinker, her practice has consistently spoken to urgencies in the contemporary world. In her work with photomedia, she has been a stitcher of images, a weaver of stories, pulling together personal experience and popular aesthetics, local and Southeast Asian cultures and histories, into an imaginary, critical space. As she makes a significant turn in her art practice, the tikar comes to represent a “space where things get activated”.

    On the tikar, everyone is invited, everyone sits on the same level, and anything can happen. The tikar is domestic, it is local, it is feminist, democratic, egalitarian. It is a way of thinking, and rethinking, about how we use and share space ­– the space of community (politics), the space of storytelling, the space of cultural production and economics (art-making).

    Delving into this concept, I-Lann embarked in early 2018 on working with weavers from Keningau associated with Pusat Kraftangan Sabah, and from Pulau Omadal, Semporna, to make tikar as collaborative contemporary artworks.

    For Julitah Kulinting, head teacher of bamboo pus weaving at Pusat Kraftangan Sabah, and her team, the tikar collaboration has created an important opportunity for experimenting and innovating in an industry sustained by mass production primarily for the tourist industry, mostly of baskets and sirung hats. Today, most mats made by inland people like the DusunMurut are made for practical purposes, with plain mats used for rituals.

    For the stateless Bajau Sama DiLaut women weavers off Pulau Omadal, weaving tepo first and foremost puts rice on the table. The heritage tepo they weave for special occasions such as wedding dowries, had previously all but disappeared. An alternative economy has been created through this collaborative art project, and through the sale of mats of their own designs made possible by this collaboration. With income from their craft, the community depends less on fishing to survive, and they can stay home with their children. For lead collaborator Roziah Jalalid, marine conservationist, documentary filmmaker, and Chairperson of WAPO (Persatuan Wanita Pulau Omadal) from the Malaysian Bajau Laut or self-identified Bajau Tempatan (“local Bajau”) community on Pulau Omadal, the revival of tepo weaving has also meant less damage to a vital and increasingly threatened marine environment that is part of the Coral Triangle.

    As the collaboration between I-Lann and these weaver communities developed and expanded, with mats commissioned for institutions and exhibitions around the Asia Pacific, it came time to bring together a body of works as an exhibition, starting on home ground. The inaugural presentation of Borneo Heart in Kota Kinabalu includes a 60-mat installation, giant mats, a woven sculpture, works in photomedia and video involving dancers, photographers, videographers and friends, a stall selling the weavers’ mats and special cenderamata (souvenirs), and, pandemic allowing, a planned curated weekend tamu (market) by KeTAMU.

    Borneo Heart is an exhibition about sharing the mat, the tikar (Malay), or apin (Murut), or tepo (Bajau Sama DiLaut): “When you come to a meeting or a celebration on a tikar and there is no room left on the mat, your host will hurry to lay down another mat to make space.” (Yee I-Lann)

    In this way, the body of work presented in Borneo Heart has grown to encompass different practices, communities and individuals, and the exhibition itself has enveloped supporting institutions and independent teams and professionals. Borneo Heart then becomes a platform for sharing and exchange, reflecting the function of diversity of the traditional tamu, where peoples of the hills, plains, river and sea communities of Sabah meet to trade resources, knowledge, skills and stories.

    In this exhibition we find stories of home, love, language, power and community.

    Yee I-Lann (b. 1971, Kota Kinabalu) 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 historic 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.

The tikar, as Yee I-Lann will tell us, and anyone who has grown up in Southeast Asia will know, is used for many things ­– for sleeping, eating, drying fish or rice; for community meetings and celebrations; for prayers, rituals.

Different communities have different names for the woven mat. And although less and less common to modern life in cities, many communities in Sabah, Borneo, Southeast Asia and indeed the wider world, maintain particular traditions of mat-weaving and specific motifs, so that mats also carry different histories and meanings. They are almost always woven by women.

For Yee I-Lann, who has been making and exhibiting her art in the global contemporary art world for over two decades, the journey with tikar began as a means of finding community as she relocated her practice from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu around 2016/2017.

As an artist, activist and thinker, her practice has consistently spoken to urgencies in the contemporary world. In her work with photomedia, she has been a stitcher of images, a weaver of stories, pulling together personal experience and popular aesthetics, local and Southeast Asian cultures and histories, into an imaginary, critical space. As she makes a significant turn in her art practice, the tikar comes to represent a “space where things get activated”.

On the tikar, everyone is invited, everyone sits on the same level, and anything can happen. The tikar is domestic, it is local, it is feminist, democratic, egalitarian. It is a way of thinking, and rethinking, about how we use and share space ­– the space of community (politics), the space of storytelling, the space of cultural production and economics (art-making).

Delving into this concept, I-Lann embarked in early 2018 on working with weavers from Keningau associated with Pusat Kraftangan Sabah, and from Pulau Omadal, Semporna, to make tikar as collaborative contemporary artworks.

For Julitah Kulinting, head teacher of bamboo pus weaving at Pusat Kraftangan Sabah, and her team, the tikar collaboration has created an important opportunity for experimenting and innovating in an industry sustained by mass production primarily for the tourist industry, mostly of baskets and sirung hats. Today, most mats made by inland people like the DusunMurut are made for practical purposes, with plain mats used for rituals.

For the stateless Bajau Sama DiLaut women weavers off Pulau Omadal, weaving tepo first and foremost puts rice on the table. The heritage tepo they weave for special occasions such as wedding dowries, had previously all but disappeared. An alternative economy has been created through this collaborative art project, and through the sale of mats of their own designs made possible by this collaboration. With income from their craft, the community depends less on fishing to survive, and they can stay home with their children. For lead collaborator Roziah Jalalid, marine conservationist, documentary filmmaker, and Chairperson of WAPO (Persatuan Wanita Pulau Omadal) from the Malaysian Bajau Laut or self-identified Bajau Tempatan (“local Bajau”) community on Pulau Omadal, the revival of tepo weaving has also meant less damage to a vital and increasingly threatened marine environment that is part of the Coral Triangle.

As the collaboration between I-Lann and these weaver communities developed and expanded, with mats commissioned for institutions and exhibitions around the Asia Pacific, it came time to bring together a body of works as an exhibition, starting on home ground. The inaugural presentation of Borneo Heart in Kota Kinabalu includes a 60-mat installation, giant mats, a woven sculpture, works in photomedia and video involving dancers, photographers, videographers and friends, a stall selling the weavers’ mats and special cenderamata (souvenirs), and, pandemic allowing, a planned curated weekend tamu (market) by KeTAMU.

Borneo Heart is an exhibition about sharing the mat, the tikar (Malay), or apin (Murut), or tepo (Bajau Sama DiLaut): “When you come to a meeting or a celebration on a tikar and there is no room left on the mat, your host will hurry to lay down another mat to make space.” (Yee I-Lann)

In this way, the body of work presented in Borneo Heart has grown to encompass different practices, communities and individuals, and the exhibition itself has enveloped supporting institutions and independent teams and professionals. Borneo Heart then becomes a platform for sharing and exchange, reflecting the function of diversity of the traditional tamu, where peoples of the hills, plains, river and sea communities of Sabah meet to trade resources, knowledge, skills and stories.

In this exhibition we find stories of home, love, language, power and community.

Yee I-Lann (b. 1971, Kota Kinabalu) 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 historic 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.

Works

I-Lann Yee
Tikar Reben
2020
6757
2
Bajau Sama DiLaut Pandanus weave with commercial chemical dye
8.66h x 2472.05w in • 22h x 6279w cm
2
0.00
USD
0
with weaving by Kak Roziah, Kak Sanah, Kak Kinnuhong, Kak Koddil

2 of 3
Details
I-Lann Yee
TIKAR/MEJA
2020
6748
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
Tikar Emoji
2020
6747
2
Bajau Sama DiLaut Pandanus weave with commercial chemical dye
192.13h x 155.91w in • 488h x 396w cm
0
0.00
USD
0

with weaving by Kak Kinnuhong, Kak Sanah, Kak Budi, Kak Roziah, Kak Goltiam, Kak Kuluk, Macik Rerah, Macik Appay, Adik Darwisa, Adik Alisya, Adik Enidah, Adik Dela, Adik Erna, Adik Norsaida, Adik Asima, Adik Aline, Adik Dayang, Adik Tasya, Kak Solbi, Kak Anjung
Details
I-Lann Yee
Tepo Aniya Nombor Na (Mat with a number)
2020
6746
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
6742
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
PHP
0

with weaving by S. Narty Raitom, Julia Ginasius, Julitah Kulinting
Details
I-Lann Yee
Tanahairku #002
2020
6741
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
6739
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
USD
0
with weaving by Julitah Kulinting, S. Narty Raitom, Julia Ginasius, Hollyvia Kimin
Details
I-Lann Yee
Dusun Karaoke Mat: Ahaid zou noh doiti (I’ve been here a long time)
2020
6738
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
PHP
0
with weaving by Lili Naming, Siat Yanau, and Shahrizan Bin Juin
Details
"hello from the outside"
2019
6736
2
split bamboo pus weave, black natural dye and matt sealant
88.58h x 143.31w in ∙ 225h x 364w cm
0
0.00
USD
0

with weaving assistance by Lili Naming, Siat Yanau, Mohamad Shahrizan Bin Juin, Juraen Bin Sapirin and S. Narty Binti Raitom
Details
3 hovering Louvres
2019
6735
2
split bamboo pus weave and matt sealant
76h x 126w in ∙ 193.04h x 320.04w cm
1
0.00
PHP
0

with weaving assistance by Julitah Kulinting, S. Narty Binti Raitom and Julia Binti Ginasius
Details
I-Lann Yee
Rasa Sayang
2014
6750
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
USD
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 1: the sun will rise in the east and deliver us from this long night
2012
6758
2
digital inkjet pigment print on metallic paper
8.27h x 11.42w in (21h x 29w cm) each | 52 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 2: 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
6759
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
6760
2
digital inkjet pigment print on metallic paper
8.27h x 11.42w in (21h x 29w cm) each | 128 pieces
0
0.00
USD
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
6761
2
digital inkjet pigment print on metallic paper
8.27h x 11.42w in (21h x 29w cm) each | 96 pieces
0
0.00
USD
0
1 of 3
Details
I-Lann Yee
Rasa Sayang: Chapter 5: paths of the wind weave shadows bare bones of a mat
2020
6762
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
6763
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
6737
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
6756
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
Measuring Project: Chapter 1
2021
6740
2
Digital inkjet pigment print (Giclée) on Hahnemühle Photo Rag paper
11.69h x 16.54w in ∙ 29.70h x 42w cm
1
0.00
USD
0
1 of 8
Details

Artists

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