with Sim Chi Yin
Feb. 18 – March 4, 2017
Wellington, New Zealand
Photival is a photography festival for positive change that aims to show people thought-provoking photographic work from all over the world and then give them the tools they need to make a difference.
The theme of this year’s festival is ‘Brink.’ “Our world is in an age of being on the brink in many respects. Will we save or destroy our environment? Will we create technology that vastly improves our lives or that will stop us from living them? Will we alter the current political systems to make a better world? Will we consider cultures, species, languages important enough to save? These are widely important issues that need attention and what better way to do this than through the most communicable of mediums – photography.”
Sim Chi Yin’s series “The Rat Tribe” fits ‘Brink’ as with property prices skyrocketing in the Chinese capital due to a mass migration of people from the countryside to the huge urban mega city, people cannot afford decent size housing. Here we see air raid shelters and basement spaces beneath apartment blocks are partitioned into rooms and rented out. Basement-dwellers, unkindly dubbed the ‘rat tribe’ by the Chinese press, rarely see the sun from their rooms and often put up with mold and mildew on their clothes and bedding in the summer, but many make this space their comfortable home during their time in the capital.