Hear Her Singing

Hear Her Singing, 2017, Southbank Centre, London

Hear Her Singing, 2017, Video
In collaboration with Tsering Tashi Gyalthang
Commissioned by Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre, London, UK
W​ith support from the Ministry of Culture, Taiwan

Hear Her Singing is a newly commissioned Hayward Gallery project by Taiwanese artist Charwei Tsai, in collaboration with Tibetan filmmaker Tsering Tashi Gyalthang, taking the universal nature of song to create a platform for refugees and asylum seekers currently living or detained in the UK. In a series of film installations at Southbank Centre, Tsai presents multiple voices of struggle, resistance and hope.

Tsai has developed Hear Her Singing with the charities Bedford Music in Detention and Women for Refugee Women. Working closely with each organisation and vocal leader Phoene Cave, the project was initiated with a series of vocal workshops with women at Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre in Bedfordshire and the Women for Refugee Women drama group who meet every Saturday at Southbank Centre. Drawing on the foundations of care and solidarity between the women, Tsai used the 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 to camera as dedications 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 across the site and invites visitors to stop and listen where they are encountered.

With thanks to the Dr. Cheryl Lai, Shih-yin Huang, Dr. Stephanie Rosenthal, Rahila Haque, Holly Hunter, Jih-Wen Yeh, Phoene Cave, Vanessa Lucas-Smith, Natasha Walter, Rebecca Laughton, Marchu Girma, and Neil Massey.