Sim Chi Yin

Sim Chi Yin's picture

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 on-going 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.

The granddaughter of a photographer and journalist killed during China’s civil war, this personal history— taboo in her family for decades during the Cold War—eventually drew Chi Yin back to China from her native Singapore. For 11 years she was based in this rapidly changing country, forging intimate bonds with people and chronicling its metamorphosis from the ground up. She is now based between London and Beijing.

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 has 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 assignment for global publications, such as The New York Times Magazine, TIME, National Geographic, The New Yorker and Harper’s.

Chi Yin won the Chris Hondros Fund award in 2018. A finalist for the 2013 W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography, she was an inaugural Magnum Foundation Photography and Social Justice fellow in 2010 in New York. She is now a tutor and mentor on the fellowship. In 2014, she was Her World Magazine’s “Young Woman Achiever of the Year”.

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 Photos nominee in 2018.

Last updated: 
Sunday, March 10, 2019 (GMT -0500)