ALLOM! AMATAI! ALLOM!
A+ WORKS of ART is delighted to be joining Borneo Heart in Kuala Lumpur with ALLOM! AMATAI! ALLOM!, an exhibition of photomedia essays by the Malaysian contemporary artist Yee I-Lann.
ALLOM! AMATAI! ALLOM! is an exhibition of three photomedia essays by Yee I-Lann: Rasa Sayang, Measuring Project, and Untitled Self-Portrait. Within the universe of “Borneo Heart”, they narrate the Sabahan artist’s journey towards the tikar (mat), and how its principles commingle with those of an enduring practice centred around egalitarian, feminist, and non-hierarchical knowledges.
The exhibition title borrows from the measurement system used by weavers of the Sama DiLaut community at Omadal, who calculate the dimensions of their mats with the principal weaver’s feet. The first step is accompanied by the exclamation, Allom! (“Life!), followed by “Amatai! (“Death!”) upon the next. The process continues as the principal weaver (always a woman) counts her steps, with the caveat that the mat must end with an Allom.
This ancestral practice, passed down to I-Lann as she began her series of woven mat works with the community in 2018, is exemplary of the ideas proposed by the works on display here. 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 the artist proposes new frameworks encompassing unruly bodies organised around forms of kinship, ritual, and womanhood.
These works ask what it means to let go of mastery and to find new centres proposed by practices of an otherwise.
Date: March 3 (Friday) to April 1 (Saturday)
Venue: A+ Works of Art
Time: Tuesday to Saturday 12pm to 7pm