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Image: Hear Her Singing (2017) commissioned by Hayward Gallery, London

Songs We Carry

Charwei Tsai

8 May - 13 June, 2021

Songs We Carry is a project by Taiwanese artist Charwei Tsai made in collaboration with Tibetan filmmaker Tsering Tashi Gyalthang. It is composed of the series of videos Songs of Chuchepati Camp (2017), Songs of the Migrant Workers of Kaohsiung Harbor (2018) and Hear Her Singing (2017) that has been recomposed into a site-specific installation. The project takes the universality of song, in times of tragedy or jubilation, in poverty or wealth, to create an open platform for understanding the collective struggle, resistance and hope behind the voices. Showcasing three vastly different human conditions in the face of global uncertainties, together the three works encompass Tsai and Gyalthang’s interest in the collected songs of people whose voices are often unheard. 


Songs of Chuchepati Camp depicts the state of mind of the displaced earthquake victims in Kathmandu, Nepal. Songs of the Migrant Workers of Kaohsiung Harbor portrays the loneliness of laborers living on fishing vessels. Drawing on the foundations of care and solidarity for women, Hear Her Singing invited the Refugee Women Drama Group to sing their chosen songs. These personal and powerful songs include religious, political and pop styles as well as original material, as dedications to the struggle of women in Yarl’s Wood detainees and asylum seekers in the UK. 


Often incorporating geographical, social and spiritual motifs into her works, Tsai’s practice is a highly personal exploration of universal themes and is concerned with shared experiences of economically disadvantaged groups from different communities. Influenced by the philosophy of Tantric Buddhism, “Form is emptiness, emptiness is form” is positioned as a discursive concept in her work, in which Tsai meditates on the complexities among cultural beliefs, spirituality, and transience.

Charwei Tsai was born in 1980 in Taipei, Taiwan where she currently lives and works. She graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design in Industrial Design and Art & Architectural History (2002) and has completed the postgraduate research program La Seine at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris (2010). 

The selected participated exhibitions: Jogja Biennale and Power of Intention : Reinventing the (prayer) Wheel, Rubin Museum, New York (2019), Charwei Tsai : Bulaubulau, Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CFCCA), Manchester, UK, 2050, A Brief History of the Future, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taichung, Taiwan, in collaboration with Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, and Minimalism: Space, Light, Object, Art Science Museum in collaboration with National Gallery Singapore, Singapore (2018), Hear Hear Singing, Commissioned by Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre, UK and Water Moon, Institute of Contemporary Art, Villeurbanne / Rhône-Alpes, France (2017), Biennale of Sydney (2016), Simple Shapes at Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2015) and Centre Pompidou-Metz, France (2014), Sharjah Biennial (2013), Millennium Magazines, MoMA New York and Phantoms of Asia at Asian Art Museum of San Francisco (2012), Yokohama Triennial and Ruhrtriennale (2011), 6th Asia Pacific Triennial (2009), Traces of the Sacred at Centre Pompidou, Paris (2008), and Singapore Biennale (2006). 


Tsering Tashi Gyalthang is a Tibetan filmmaker and artist born in India (1980) and currently based in Vietnam. He is best known for his delicate humanistic stories in both his personal and commissioned works. 

His short films have been screened at Cannes Film Festival's Short Film Corner (2011) and at Oberhausen Film Festival (2013). Since 2012, Tsering has been working in collaboration with Taiwanese artist Charwei Tsai and their projects have been exhibited and screened at Espace Louis Vuitton, Singapore (2012), Sharjah Biennale and Dojima River Biennale (both in 2013), The New School in New York and Sydney Biennale (both in 2016), Southbank Centre, London (2017), Jogja Biennale (2019), MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum, Chiangmai, Thailand (2019), Human Rights Art Festival, Green Island, Taiwan and Cairns Art Gallery, Australia (2020).

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Sabino 276

Santa Maria la Ribera

Mexico City

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