I-Lann Yee

Born 1971 | Kota Kinabalu
Lives and works Kota Kinabalu

Addressing the turbulent geopolitical history of South East Asia’s archipelagos, I-Lann Yee’s practice engages with structures of power and historical memory. In recent years, Yee has started working collaboratively with sea-based and land-based communities using Indigenous mediums in Sabah, Malaysia. Weaving and co-making mats with her fellow Sabahan artists, Yee not only imagines alternative modes of inheriting and passing on ancestral knowledge, but different ways of producing and distributing art. Salted Fish White Mat (Tepo Putih Ikan Masin) 2023 comes to Gwangju from Omadal Island, on the border of the Sulu and Celebes Sea. It is made of other mats, used for drying fish and other domestic tasks in homes in the northern Peninsular Malaysian states Terengganu, Perak, and Kelantan and Sabah in Malaysian Borneo, sewn and patched together with the flotsam and jetsam of plastic rubbish collected from the beaches of Omadal Island. Unlike Yee’s other colourfully decorated and intricately patterned mats, this large-scale banner is less about the visual message, but more about traces, as it retains sensorial traces of everyday life, communal effort, and the environmental context of Sabah.

I-Lann Yee and her collaborators, Budi’s Song 2023. Single-channel video, colour, sound. 12 mins, 37 secs. Edition 1 of 5. Courtesy the artist and Silverlens Galleries. Film still. Image courtesy the artist