Up Close: Jennifer Tee
By CHLOE CHU
Before films animated silver screens and novels were churned out of printing presses, stories could be preserved and distributed in tapestries. Action-packed scenes unfold in Jennifer Tee’s striking Tampan Tulip (2014– ) collages, which draw from the tampan, or ship cloths, of southern Sumatra’s Lampung region. Several symbols reappear throughout the series, including a symmetrical ship with a high prow and stern pictured with angular lines. In Tampan World Mountain, Tree of Life (2021), a column of tessellated, diamantine forms soars skyward from the vessel like an arboreal mast, another recurring motif. A human figure reaches for a trunk while two others are tethered via intricate, cascading branches. Swimming under the jagged waves that lap at the bilge are octopuses and fish.