Lan Florence Yee: I was a cut sleeve
Posted: Aug 18th, 2023 | Gathering

As part of the digital component of Gathering, the Textile Museum partnered with the collective Mending the Museum. Lan "Florence" Yee was one of six artists invited to interpret pieces from the Textile Museum’s collection.

Lan created a video in response to a fragment of a sleeve band from China. Learn more about the Mending the Museum project here. Click on the link below to view Lan’s work.

I was a cut sleeve (2023), video 4:08 min

Lan collects text in underappreciated places and ferments it until it is too suspicious to ignore. Their text-based pieces borrow the institutional pen of templates and forms, while displacing their functions through skeptical lived experiences.

Lan chose to highlight a sleeve band from the Textile Museum’s collection, thought to be cut off from the original garment to be more marketable as a flat decorative item. According to the sleeve’s archival file, it was donated by Fred Braida, the developer who gave five floors of his new condo building to the museum that housed it. By merging fact with speculative fiction, they used research on the second-hand Chinese clothing market from looted palaces and the past projects of the Textile Museum to craft a life’s narrative imagined from the perspective of the sleeve band. The video’s critical fabulation recognizes the limits of its own structure, and to sustain a necessary uncertainty. The intimacy of this doubt gives me the space to interrogate the multiple losses that make up diasporic memory.

Headshot credit goes to Ananna Rafa & Jenn Qu

Lan “Florence” Yee is a visual artist and serial collaborator based in Tkaronto/Toronto and Tiohtià:ke/Mooniyang/Montreal. They collect text in underappreciated places and ferment it until it is too suspicious to ignore. Lan’s work has been exhibited at the Darling Foundry (2022), the Toronto Museum of Contemporary Art (2021), the Art Gallery of Ontario (2020), the Textile Museum of Canada (2020), and the Gardiner Museum (2019), among others. Along with Arezu Salamzadeh, they co-founded the Chinatown Biennial in 2020. They obtained a BFA from Concordia University and an MFA from OCAD U. 


Below is the image of the fragment that inspired Lan. Learn more about the pieces in our online collection by clicking on the live links below.

Sleeve Band [T86.0673a-b]
Asia: East Asia, China, 1800 – 1985
Gift of Fred Braida to the Textile Museum of Canada

This work is created as part of Gathering, the inaugural installation of our new Collection Gallery, featuring community stories told through our global collection. Grounded in community participation, the installation presents over 40 pieces from the Museum’s permanent collection of over 15,000 objects from around the world. Choices of objects, responses, and retellings were gathered via open online calls for reflection, through partnerships with local organizations, and through artists’ interventions. Gathering explores themes related to migration and diaspora, the search for comfort in the domestic and familial, reclamation of ancestral traditions through contemporary artistic responses, and the relationship between textiles and the environment. 

Through the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts Digital Now Strategy Initiative.

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