Charwei TsaI

Hear her Singing

7 Feb –
15 Mar 2020

Charwei Tsai’s video installation Hear Her Singing 2017 was made in collaboration with Tibetan filmmaker Tsering Tashi Gyalthang. Commissioned by the Hayward Gallery, the work takes the universality of song to create a platform for refugees and asylum seekers currently living or detained in the United Kingdom. Through a series of film installations, the artist presents multiple voices of struggle, resistance and hope. 

For this project Tsai worked closely with two charitable organisations, the Bedford Creative Arts Music in Detention, and Women for Refugee Women, as well as with vocal leader Phoene Cave. She drew on the foundations of care and solidarity between the women and used vocal workshops to invite the groups to sing to each other and send each other messages via audio recordings, creating a point of exchange for women who have experienced similar journeys. 

Following the workshops, the Women for Refugee Women drama group were invited to sing their chosen songs in front of the camera as a dedication to the struggle of women in Yarl’s Wood and beyond. These personal and powerful songs include religious, political and pop songs as well as original material. Performed and filmed in various locations around the Royal Festival Hall, Hear Her Singing creates a presence for the women’s voices throughout the gallery space, and invites visitors to stop, listen and engage with the songs and the sounds of women singing.


The Cairns Art Gallery acknowledges the Gimuy Walubarra Yidinji and Yirrganydji as the Traditional Owners of the area today known as Cairns. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, names or voices of deceased persons in photographs, film or text.