Wherein one nods with political sympathy and says I understand you better than you understand yourself, I’m just here to help you help yourself
Sarcastically titled to call attention to the problematic notions underlying colonialism, this photograph shows hundreds of Native Malaysians seated quietly behind one of their colonial oppressors. The artwork belongs to Yee’s series Picturing Power (2013) that deals with the destabilizing impacts of neo-colonialism and globalization on Southeast Asia’s history. Yee approaches the aesthetics and politics of the ethnographic gaze with both irony and humanity, challenging the modes of seeing inherent to the British colonization of Malaysia.
Yee I-Lann lives and works in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia. Her photography and photomontages explore colonial histories by addressing notions of power, historical memory, and visual culture. She draws upon many visual sources including popular culture, archival photographs, and everyday objects. Yee received her BA in Visual Arts from the University of South Australia, Adelaide (1993) and her work has been widely exhibited in museums and international biennials.