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From January to June 2023, in the year of the 60th anniversary of the formation of Malaysia, Borneo Heart travels to the Peninsula, or “Semenanjung”. Borneo Heart in Kuala Lumpur is a sharing of tikar with six wonderful spaces/organisations/communities in the capital, encompassing exhibitions, workshops, talks, a tamu and a book launch. We’re very excited and honoured to be working with The Zhongshan Building, The Back Room, A+ Works of Art, ILHAM Gallery and Rumah Lukis on this new adventure.

Borneo Heart was initiated in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, in 2021, and was the artist Yee I-Lann’s first exhibition in her homeland of Sabah, presenting works made in collaboration with weavers, film-makers, dancers, other fellow creative producers and friends. It was not just an art exhibition, but a major celebration of the community, cultures, and knowledge of the indigenous peoples of Sabah, to whom I-Lann’s recent practice is heavily indebted.

Borneo Heart
turns on two concepts: the tikar (woven mat) as a collective platform for community, storytelling and ritual, and the tamu (weekly market) as a meeting place for the exchange of goods, stories and ideas. It celebrates the possibility of creating new spaces, aesthetic languages and shared ideas through conversation and collaboration.

In the same way, the Kuala Lumpur iteration of Borneo Heart is also driven by the spirit of community and horizontal knowledge- sharing. Rather than gather the exhibition in one site, Borneo Heart depends on the hospitality and collaboration of art spaces joining their ‘tikars’ together to make use of it for their communities. It is a sharing of different mats.

Together, we hope to welcome you in KL.

The Zhongshan Building
80–84 Jalan Rotan
Off Jalan Kampung Attap
50460 Kuala Lumpur


February 25th–March 12th

An exhibition by Yee I-Lann featuring work made with weaving by Kak Sanah, Kak Kinnohung, Kak Budi, Kak Leleng, Kak Horma, Makcik Bilung, Kak Roziah, Adik Dela, Adik Erna, Abang Boby, Adik Alini, Adik Aisha, Adik Darwisa, Adik Marsha, Adik Dayang, Adik Tasya, Adik Shima, Adik Umaira, Abang Tularan.

An installation of dozens of woven mats that depict tables. The works interrogate the symbolic prestige of the table by juxtaposing its inherited colonial power against the communal character of the tikar.

A+ Works of Art
D6-G-8, d6 Trade Centre 801
Jalan Sentul
51000 Kuala Lumpur


*opens 12-7pm Tues-Sat.

March 3–April 1st – Exhibition
March 4th – Artist Talk, 3-4pm

Artist Talk: The theme, “Journeying Without Knowing”, forms an entry point into a discussion about I-Lann’s journey toward the tikar (mats) and how new collaborators, techniques, and alternative knowledges have come to shape her recent practice. Moderated by curator Denise Lai.

Registration link for the Artist Talk: Artist Talk Registration

Be sure to book soon as seats are limited. 


An exhibition of three photomedia essays by Yee I-Lann: Rasa Sayang, Measuring Project: Chapters 1–7, and Untitled Self-Portrait. These works narrate the Sabahan artist’s journey towards the tikar (mats) of “Borneo Heart” and, in the process, her embracing of alternative value systems that challenged those of her own.

To think about measurements through the body, through life and death, is to challenge cultures of objectivity concerned with precision and quantification. These were the technologies of governance employed by colonial rulers — standardisation and administration — against which I-Lann proposes new frame- works encompassing unruly bodies organised around forms of kinship, ritual, and womanhood.

Ilham Gallery
Level 3, ILHAM Tower 8,
Jalan Binjai
50450 Kuala Lumpur


*opens 11am-7pm Tues-Sat

March 11th–June

An exhibition of video works, woven sculpture and tikar works by Yee I-Lann which hopes to draw out ways in which the “tikar” in form and concept can act as a medium for thinking about art, power, language and how we shape society.

When I-Lann began working with groups of weavers in Keningau and in Pulau Omadal, Semporna, it was to discover from the tikar. The collaborations themselves have been a process of weaving – of different visual lan- guages, art histories, stories, philosophies, economies, geographies.

In the tikar, we can find a representation of an egalitarian, communal, feminist politics. It is a social architecture that is flat and modular rather than hierarchical, that is flexible, that can afford to be generous.

Rumah Lukis
11, Jalan AU5D/4
54200 Kuala Lumpur


*opens weekends only, do DM them first.

March 11th–June

Balai Bikin at Rumah Lukis tells three stories about making. First it probes into the materials, concepts, and collaborative process behind four tikar works or series in Borneo Heart — Tikar Reben, &, The Tukad Kad Sequence and TIKAR/MEJA. It then traces the unfolding of Borneo Heart itself and the network of collaborators involved from the inaugural exhibition in Kota Kinabalu in 2021 to its current presentation.

Looking forward, it follows the progress of “Balai Bikin”, a project by the weavers of the Pulau Omadal community and Yee I-Lann, working with Artkitrek Camp, to create a community and making hall in their village, giving insights into its ideals, processes, challenges faced and hopefully its successful implementation later this year.

The Zhongshan Building
80–84 Jalan Rotan
Off Jalan Kampung Attap
50460 Kuala Lumpur

The Zhongshan Building channels the spirit of the tikar as a site for community. A place for people to gather around and chat, eat, exchange knowledge, share ideas, cook, ferment. It’s a celebration of live cultures and keeping cultures alive.

The festivities begin here with a series of “fermentations”, followed by a showcase of tikar artworks by Yee I-Lann, including TIKAR/MEJA at The Back Room, Seven Propaganda Posters, and a giant “ka- raoke mat” dedicated to the people of Zhongshan and Malaysia, with weaving by Johin Endelengau, Shahrizan bin Juin, Lili Naming and Siat Yanau.

– Tapai Making Workshop with Mami Ita: Jan 7th & 8th
– Joey’s Tempeh Workshop: Feb 18th at @kantatakl
– Sourdough Lecture-Performance with Tommy Le Baker: Feb 19th at @tommylebaker_kgattap

– TIKAR/MEJA by Yee I-Lann and collaborators: Feb 25th–Mar 12th at @thebackroomkl
– Woven mat showcase: Feb 25th–Mar 12th outside @thebackroomkl and in @tommylebaker_kgattap courtyard

The Godown Arts Centre
11, Lorong Ampang 7
50250 Kuala Lumpur

February 25th, 11am-8pm
February 26th, 11am-6pm

On 25 – 26 February, experience a Sabah-style Tamu @thegodownkl as part of Borneo Heart in Kuala Lumpur. As we wade into Malaysia’s 60th year, Tamu Tanah & Air will host organisations, artists, and collectives from Borneo and the Peninsula for selling goods, exchanging stories, workshops, art presentations and more. Meet friends working in community-based projects, in green agricultural and hydro technologies, in different modes of art-making, learning and play, local literatures, music and poetry, artisanal produce, and sustainable living.

“Tanah” & “Air” = tanahair. Come join us on the mat!

NOTE: Too many things happening here, so there’s a special page for it: GO HERE.