Born and currently lives and works in Kota Kinabalu in the Malaysian Borneo state of Sabah, Yee I-Lann has been involved in various cultural sectors including film industries, the art academy and the music scene in Kuala Lumpur after completing her studies of visual art in Adelaide, Australia. Since 2017, Yee has lived and worked in her homeland of Kota Kinabalu and started working in collaboration with sea-based and mountain-based communities to create art pieces with indigenous materials and techniques. At the same time, she serves as a board member for Forever Sabah and Tamparuli Living Arts Center (TaLAC), non-profit organisations established for Sabah’s nature conservation and sustainability efforts as well as the preservation and promotion of cultural activities.
Known for her photo-imagery-based practices, Yee has been addressing the modern history of the Southeast Asia Archipelago and its colonial past and postcolonial present. Interrogating the nature of photographic imagery, which often subconsciously capture power structures such as hegemony, hierarchy and gender inequality embedded in societies while preserving them as memory or documentation, Yee has been disentangling historical narrative from a single perspective, presenting complex cultural identities and socio-political matters formed by multiple ethnicities throughout the geopolitical history of Southeast Asia.
Her works are included in the collections of prominent international art institutions including Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis, USA; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan; National Art Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Australia; Singapore Art Museum, Singapore; National Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; UBS Art Collection, London, UK and the Kadist Foundation, Paris, France.
Image courtesy: Yee I-Lann