Cantonese Still Life

Oil on canvas, 2018

122 x 152 cm
$4 800

A large part of my Eurocentric art history education was spent on still life compositions such as the Dutch pronkstilleven paintings of the seventeenth-century. Their imagery and symbols trace a popular epoch of empirical aspirations with visual demonstrations of dominance over global trade. The prevalence of blue-and-white porcelain as colonial trophies has long seemed fraught for me, particularly as a queer Asian body. In my own still-life painting, childhood comfort foods replace the grand assets of Orientalized dreams. The small treats stand in contrast as ephemeral vessels, some to be thrown out, some to be composted, some to be turned into containers for dried roots.

Biographical note

Lan “Florence” Yee is a visual artist and serial collaborator based in Tkaronto/Toronto and Tiohtiá:ke/Mooniyang/Montréal. They collect text in underappreciated places and ferment it until it is too suspicious to ignore. Lan’s work has been exhibited at the Fonderie Darling (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.