Yarli Alllison
55 Squared at Tai Kwun

We worked with Yarli Allison to create an AR Instagram filter, PRISON? GARDEN! for her installation on display at 55 Squared at Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts. After scanning a QR code in the outdoor installation in the Parade Ground, audiences will be able to open the filter using Instagram or Facebook to view a 3D scene created by the artist on display from 18 May-31 Aug 2021.

The work brings together floral characters and architectural elements at Tai Kwun, both physically and digitally; with her fantastic metaphors of solidarity and uprootedness, Allison fills the work with complex emotions of anticipation, excitement, grief, and anxiety. Through the AR filter, the artist welcomes visitors into her fantastic garden of pixels; they get to walk through flapping prison gates and under arched prison windows, and approach uprooted plants that apparently appear cheerful and yet are shedding blood and tears. As the artist states, “As viewers step into the ‘pool of tears’, they step into a sense of ‘compassion’, with the Latin root meaning ‘to-suffer-with’: as my vulnerability is exposed, I extend my emotional boundaries to you.” Curated by Louiza Ho and Jill Angel Chun.

About the artist

Yarli Allison (林雅莉) hails from a multicultural diasporic background. As the third generation of British, Cantonese and Canadian diaspora and born in Canada herself, Allison was raised in Hong Kong before relocating to Europe. Her frequent relocations and mixed identities have focused her attention to the collective uprootedness and solidarity of migrant demographic groups. As an artist with a multidisciplinary approach that traverses sculpture, performance, digital, film, drawing and installation, Allison fabricates imagined worlds that consist of her invented survival tactics and coping mechanisms, often in interaction with personas or creatures.

Her works have been shown internationally in numerous exhibitions and film festivals. Exhibitions include Decriminalise Futures, Institute of Contemporary Arts: ICA, London; Queering Now 2021, UK; LINZ FMR, Austria; Research Residency at CFCCA, Manchester; and Radical Ancestry, FACT Liverpool (curated by Annie Jael Kwan). Yarli Allison is the recipient of the Hong Kong Art Council Project Grant, Canada Council for the Arts Travel Grant (2020) and Zabludowicz collection (UK) Testing-Ground Workshop. Allison graduated in 2017 with an MFA in Sculpture from Slade School of Fine Art, University College London, UK. She is a member of Asia-Art-Activism London Network.