We’ve got the sun under our skin

We’ve got the sun under our skin is a series of photographs and texts illustrating the effects that colonial literature has on modern identity and the construction of the Other. Drawing from 19th–21st century travelogues, ethnographic accounts and novels written on colonial Malaya, passages function as visual scores which dictate the creation of the images—all of which were shot in Britain. Created in response to the homogenous representation of a yesteryear Malaya, the reconstructed scenes attempt to demystify romanticised visions and subvert the orientalist gaze echoed throughout the writings. Shedding light on the power of colonial literature—otherwise seen as vessels of the imperial bind, We’ve got the sun under our skin aims to disrupt the slow violence that has been transmitted and accumulated through knowledge production in the West.

Elizabeth Gabrielle Lee is an artist based between London and Singapore. Her work navigates the nuances and intricacies that arise out of history and memory. Meditating on fractured and lost traditions, themes of displacement and nostalgia weave in and out of her storytelling. Through visual and textual interventions, she attempts to undo constructs of knowledge production and retention. By negotiating the dynamic of the ‘near’ and ‘elsewhere’, her practice works to remap a singular history, steering narratives toward alternate and fluid territories.

Lee also runs XING, a domain of possibilities shedding light on the trailblazing lives of East and Southeast Asian women today. XING champions the vagabonds, challenges hegemony, and celebrates a oneness through image and prose. The inaugural volume of XING (2017) explores the current landscape of women in China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan.

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