ABOUT THE ARTIST

Yee I-Lann‘s primarily photomedia-based practice engages with archipelagic Southeast Asia’s turbulent history, addressing, with wit and humanity, the socio-political impact of current politics, neo-colonialism, and globalization. Born in 1971 in Kota Kinabalu, capital of Malaysia’s northern Borneo province of Sabah, Yee received her BA in Visual Arts from the University of South Australia, Adelaide, in 1993. Now based in Malaysia’s capital city, Kuala Lumpur, she has established herself over the past 20 years as one of the region’s leading contemporary artists, known for her digital photocollage series that deftly employ a complex, multi-layered visual vocabulary drawn from historical references, popular culture, archives, and everyday objects – works that speculate on issues of culture, power, and the role of historical memory in social experience, often with particular focus on themes and motifs that reference the indigenous cultures of Borneo.

Yee’s 2013 solo exhibition at Tyler Rollins Fine Art, her first in the United States, centered on Picturing Power, a series of eight digital collages referencing the history of photography as it relates to the development of colonialism in Southeast Asia and its contemporary socio-political legacies. Her 2016 exhibition with our gallery, Like the Banana Tree at the Gate, took inspiration from two motifs that are iconic in her native Malaysia and throughout Southeast Asia: the ubiquitous banana tree; and the pontianak, a vengeful female spirit with long black hair who is sometimes said to reside in that plant; with a series of her characteristic digital photo-collage works, along with a three-channel video, the exhibition evoked the potency of female power derived from local knowledge and folkloric traditions, reframing it in a contemporary context informed by an active socio-political engagement.

Yee has exhibited widely in museums in Asia, Europe, the United States, and Australia, including two retrospective exhibitions: Fluid World, a 2011 survey of her major works at Adelaide’s Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia; and Yee I-Lann: 2005-2016 at the Ayala Museum in Manila, the Philippines. Selected biennials include: the Yinchuan Biennale (2016); the Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (2015 and 1999); the Jakarta Biennale (2015); the Singapore Biennale (2013 and 2006); and the Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale (2009). In 2013, she also served as a member of the curatorial team for the Singapore Biennale. She is currently featured in the major group exhibition, SUNSHOWER, Contemporary Art from Southeast Asia 1980s to Now, jointly taking place at the Mori Art Museum and National Art Center in Tokyo, Japan.

Nikkei Asian Review, Two Southeast Asian exhibitions open in Tokyo

July, 2017


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Hofstra University Museum, Converging Voices Gender and Identity,Yee I-Lann

May, 2017


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Hyperallergic, Perspectives on Female Identity

May, 2017


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Artist and Empire

February, 2017


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MalayMail Online, Yee I-Lann

June, 2016


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Artforum, Yee I-Lann

June, 2016


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Art Radar, Legends, ghosts and feminism

June, 2016


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Musee, Yee I-Lann at Tyler Rollins Fine Art

May, 2016


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Jakarta Biennale 2015

2015


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The Culture Trip, Malaysia’s 10 Best Contemporary Artists

October, 2014


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Asian Art News, Picturing Power

2014


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Bird, Yee I-Lann

2014


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The New York Times, Yee I-Lann ‘Picturing Power’

April, 2014


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Daily Serving, Yee I-Lann: Picturing Power

April, 2014


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Contemporary Photography in Asia, Yee I-Lann

2013


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Suspended Histories, Yee I-Lann

2013


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Encounter, Yee I-Lann

2012


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Imagining Identities, Love Me in My Batik

2012


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Negotiating Home History and Nation, Yee I-Lann

2011


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Asian Art Biennial, Meditation

2011


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Lucida, Review Yee I-Lann: Fluid World

April, 2011


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C-Arts, High Seas of Resistance

2010


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Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale, Yee I-Lann

2009


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Thermocline of Art, Yee I-Lann

2007


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Out of the Mould, Yee I-Lann

2007


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Singapore Biennale, Belief

2006


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Petronas Art Collection, Yee I-Lann

2005


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Beyond the Future: The Third Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art

1999


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