One Day we will Understand

Sim Chi Yin


“One Day We’ll Understand”, 12 min, video, sound, documentation. Performative reading done in May 2018 at The New School, New York, at the Magnum Foundation’s “Counter Histories” symposium. 

Sim Chi Yin’s performative reading “One Day We’ll Understand” takes us on a cinematic journey through her family history and that of the anti-colonial resistance movement in British Malaya — and its consequences. A quiet trauma has sat in Chi Yin’s family — and that of many other Malayans — since the 12-year war against the British between 1948 and 1960. She uncovers the story of the grandfather her family tried to forget in the 70 years since the war, and tracks down his compatriots to document their oral histories, artefacts and songs before the whole generation passes on. Her work building a counter-archive of this war challenges the colonial representations of this war and erasures in the colonial archive.


Sim Chi Yin is an artist from Singapore whose research-based practice includes photography, moving image, archival interventions and text-based performance, and focuses on history, conflict, and some of the most pressing issues of our time.

She is currently based between London and Beijing.

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. Her work has been exhibited in the Istanbul Biennale (2017), at the Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore, Hanart TZ Gallery Hong Kong, the Annenberg Space For Photography in Los Angeles, Gyeonggi Museum of Modern Art in South Korea.

Chi Yin joined Magnum Photos as a nominee member in 2018. She is currently also a PhD candidate on scholarship at King’s College London, in War Studies.