Sim Chi Yin is a visual documentarian and researcher focused on projects in Asia, working in photography, film, sound and text. She is particularly interested in history and memory, migration, and the intersection between global inequality and resource extraction.
A subtle and sensitive story-teller, Chi Yin is known for work that is intimate, investigative, and delicately decodes difficult cultures. She’s working on long-form projects for books, exhibitions and installations, making contemporary photographs as well as using archival documents, objects. She also teaches and does speaking engagements at festivals, corporations and conferences.
A fourth-generation overseas Chinese born and raised in Singapore, schooled in London and now based in Beijing for the past ten years, Chi Yin feels both southeast Asian and Chinese, and is curious about where cultures meet and blend or diverge.
Her photo and film work has been screened at photo festivals in Arles and Perpignan, and exhibited at PhotoVille in New York, the Annenberg Space in Los Angeles, Paris Photo, Nobel Peace Center in Oslo, and at festivals and galleries in China, Singapore, Seoul and Leipzig.
Chi Yin is one of 18 photographers in the world represented by New York-based VII Photo Agency. She has done photography, video and multimedia commissions for TIME, The New York Times Magazine, National Geographic, Le Monde and The New Yorker, among other top international publications.
Chi Yin was a Magnum Foundation Human Rights and Photography fellow at New York University in 2010 and a finalist for the W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography in 2013. She was listed as one of 30 emerging photographers globally by Photo District News in 2013 PDN30 and in the Ones to Watch list by the British Journal of Photography in 2014. That year, she was Her World Magazine’s Young Woman Achiever of the Year.
She was a World Press Photo jury member for documentary categories in 2016.
Chi Yin was trained as a historian, finishing two degrees in International History at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She worked as a journalist and foreign correspondent for The Straits Times, Singapore’s national English language daily, for nine years before quitting to be an independent story-teller.
selected exhibitions, awards, artist talks
- February 2016: Jury member, World Press Photo 2016, Amsterdam
- November 2015: “Dying To Breathe” film premiered at Singapore International Film Festival.
- October 2015: closing speaker at Facebook Asia-Pacific’s Women’s Leadership Day, Singapore
- September 2015: “Dying To Breathe” projected at Just Another Photo Festival, New Delhi.
- August 2015: “Dying To Breathe” shown at Dali Photo Festival, Yunnan, China.
- August 2015: speaker at Asian Journalism Fellowship conference on migration, Singapore
- May 2015: Burmese Spring, shown at Photo District News “Emerging” exhibition at Annenberg Space for Photography, Los Angeles.
- February 2015: speaker at Dok Foto festival, Oslo
- December 2014: “Power List”, top 20 arts and culture figures in Singapore, The Sunday Times, Singapore; top 6 “People of the Year”, Lianhe Zaobao, Singapore.
- October 2014: “Young Woman Achiever of the Year”, Her World Magazine, Singapore.
- October 2014: panelist Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting conference on China, religion and the environment, Chicago
- September 2014: Dying To Breathe, on Chinese gold miners, projected at Visa Pour L’image, Perpignan.
- June 2014: Exhibited in 4th Lumix Festival for Young Photojournalism, Hannover.
- November 2013: China’s “Rat Tribe” screened at Angkor Photo Festival, Cambodia
- September 2013: Discernment Award and People’s Choice award – ICON de Martell Cordon Bleu Awards, Singapore
- June 2013: China’s “Rat Tribe” exhibition at the United Photo Industries gallery, New York
- February 2013: finalist in Asian Women’s Photographers’ Showcase, exhibition in Chiang Mai, Thailand
- July 2012: China’s “Rat Tribe” screened at Arles Photo Festival, France
- June 2012: China’s “Rat Tribe” exhibited at PhotoVille festival, New York, as part of Magnum Foundation’s show
- June – Nov 2012: one of four photographers in group exhibition, Mother Democracy, on Burma and Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel Peace Center, Oslo.
- November 2011: Nominated for the Sante Fe Prize
- October 2011: Eddie Adams Workshop, New York
- September 2011: The Long Road Home, book of photos and essays on Indonesian women migrant workers, published by International Labour Organization, United Nations.
- June 2011: selected for VII Mentor Program
- May to July 2010: Magnum Foundation fellowship for “documentary photography and human rights” programme, New York University.