Sim Chi Yin (born 1978) is a Singaporean photographer, based between Beijing, China, and London. She works as a documentary photographer and artist who pursues self-directed projects in Asia and is "interested in history, memory, and migration and its consequences".
As well as photography she uses film, sound, text and archival material. The Long Road Home: Journeys Of Indonesian Migrant Workers
was published in 2011. Sim is a nominee member of Magnum Photos
Sim Chi Yin was born in Singapore. She learned history and international relations at the London School of Economics on a scholarship. She worked as a print journalist and foreign correspondent at The Straits Times for nine years. In 2010 she quit to work full time as a photographer. Within four years she was working as a photojournalist, getting regular assignments from The New York Times
. Her first major work was The Rat Tribe
, about blue-collar workers in Beijing. It has been published widely and was shown at the Rencontres d'Arles in 2012
Sim spent four years photographing Chinese gold miners living with the occupational lung disease silicosis, published in the photo essay Dying To Breathe
, much of it about He Quangui, also the subject of a short film.
She was commissioned as the Nobel Peace Prize photographer in 2017 to make work about its winner, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. Her photographs of similarities in landscapes related to nuclear weapons, both in the USA and along the China-North Korea border, were exhibited at the Nobel Peace Center museum in Oslo, Norway.
In 2014 she became an interim member of VII Photo Agency
, a full member in 2016 then left in 2017. In 2018 she became a nominee member of Magnum Photos
She has been awarded a Magnum Foundation Social Justice and Photography fellowship and the Chris Hondros Award. She is newly based in Berlin.
Sim Chi Yin’s work combines deep research with intimate storytelling. She explores history, memory, conflict and migration using photography, film, sound, text and archival material, in a multidisciplinary practice.
Chi Yin was commissioned as the Nobel Peace Prize photographer in 2017 and created a solo show for the Nobel Peace Centre museum in Oslo on nuclear weapons, combining video installation and still photography. Other notable projects include One Day We’ll Understand, an ongoing excavation of histories from the anti-colonial resistance movement in British Malaya during the early Cold War, Dying to Breathe
which chronicled the slow death of a Chinese gold miner from “Black Lung”
disease and Shifting Sands, an on-going visual investigation into world’s dependence on a non-renewable resource.
Her work has been exhibited in the Istanbul Biennale (2017), at the Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore, the Annenberg Space For Photography in Los Angeles, Gyeonggi Museum of Modern Art in South Korea, and other galleries and institutions in Europe, the United States and Asia. Her film and multimedia work have also been screened at Les rencontres d’Arles
and Visa pour l'Image
festivals in France, and the Singapore International Film Festival. She has worked on assignments for global publications, such as The New York Times
Magazine, Time Magazine
, National Geographic
, The New Yorker
and Harper's Bazaar
Chi Yin read history at the London School of Economics and Political Science for her first two degrees and was a staff journalist and foreign correspondent for a decade before quitting to become an independent visual practitioner in 2011. She is currently also a PhD candidate on scholarship at King’s College London, in War Studies.
Chi Yin became a Magnum nominee in 2018.
Source: Magnum Photos
Recent solo exhibitions include One Day We’ll Understand
, Les Rencontres d’Arles (2021), One Day We’ll Understand
, Landskrona Foto Festival, Sweden (2020), One Day We’ll Understand
, Hanart TZ Gallery, Hong Kong (2019) and Most People Were Silent
, Institute of Contemporary Arts, LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore (2018), Fallout
, Nobel Peace Museum, Oslo (2017). Her work has also been included in group shows such as Most People Were Silent
, Aesthetica Art Prize, York Art Gallery, United Kingdom (2019); UnAuthorised Medium
, Framer Framed, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Relics
, Jendela (Visual Arts Space) Gallery, Esplanade, Singapore (both 2018); and the Guangzhou Image Triennial
( 2021), the 15th Istanbul Biennial, Turkey (2017). Sim was commissioned as the Nobel Peace Prize photographer in 2017, nominated for the Vera List Center’s Jane Lombard Prize for Art and Social Justice 2020.