OD Photo Prize 2022 | Shortlisted Artist
Clara Watt is a Senegalese-Canadian photographer, whose work explores culture and social justice stories including racial, gender and women’s empowerment. She strives to bridge the gap between fine art, social documentary, and advocacy. Clara’s work is motivated by the intimate relationships fostered with her subjects, often overlapping photography and text to ensure her subjects’ voice and agency over their stories remains present.
“Human Rights Watch reports that more than a staggering 49 million girls are out of primary and secondary school in sub-Saharan Africa. In Senegal, poverty is widespread and girls are often the ones who help support their families instead of attending school. Cultural norms also affect girls’ access to education, with many taken out of school at a young age in favour of early marriage. Les Foyers de Tambacounda, located in the Eastern Region of Senegal, houses young girls from neighbouring villages, offering them an opportunity to attend local schools to further their education. Through Les Foyers, the girls have a chance at independence, education and a future of their own choosing. Le Korsa, a grass roots non-profit, working on various programs in Senegal, has been advancing girls’ education by funding Les Foyers. Inaugurated in 2017, Les Foyers provide 140 young girls dormitory space, a computer lab, a library, a dining area, recreation spaces, and a kitchen garden where students can learn the fundamentals of growing food. This project documents the importance of girls’ education, community building and the strong sense of sisterhood nurtured through Les Foyers. Portraits of the girls living at Les Foyers are accompanied by personal testimonies sharing why education is important to them, and what future they are building for themselves could look like. The project aims to inspire, empower and offer hope to young girls globally, highlighting education as a fundamental human right for all.” – Clara Watt, 2022
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