Borneo Heart Exhibition

2 – 28 May 2021 | Sabah International Convention Centre
Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Borneo


Tikar & Tamu

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 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”.

Full curator’s notes >>>

The Borneo Heart exhibition at the Sabah International Convention Centre, Kota Kinabalu, is spread over three spaces within two annexe buildings on the open plaza of Jesselton Square.

Select any one of the three spaces below to visit the works shown within.