05-01-2019

© Unknown — Uganda

© Unknown — Uganda

 
 

Saturday, January 5th 2019

It’s just after 6am right now — Coco is back in a few hours and I intend to make the most out of them. There’s a couple of boring things I have to do such as sending some emails and buying printing paper + envelopes. More importantly I need to start my application for Arts grant. But before I do anything, I’m (finally) gonna talk about the different projects which I’ll be working on this year (and beyond). I’ll start with the most important one today and will continue with the others later in the month. So, what is this project that I’ve been talking about since I signed back into instagram?

 
© Unknown — Gambia

© Unknown — Gambia

 

school uniforms

The School Uniform is a tradition which was first introduced by the Christ Hospital School in London in 1552 where students worn a long blue coat and yellow knee-high socks. Prior to this, the Archbishop of Canterbury ordered the wearing of what was called the Cappa Clausa in 1222 — the earliest documented use of an academic dress.

Today, the school uniform is either compulsory or mandatory to wear in more than 70 countries around the world —from Japan to Nigeria via El Salvador and Russia— and I intend to travel to as many of them as I can in an effort to capture the beautiful diversity of this controversial worldwide tradition for my new documentary project temporarily called “School Uniforms”. I will explore the subject with both photographic and videographic works accompanied by various statements and personal stories from local students, families, teachers and academic employees in regards to the controversies surrounding it.

 
© Unknown — Afghanistan

© Unknown — Afghanistan

© Unknown — Cuba

© Unknown — Cuba

© Unknown — India

© Unknown — India

© Unknown — Bangladesh

© Unknown — Bangladesh

 

In developing countries, the cost of school uniforms can be one of the largest expenses for families and often prohibits children, especially the poorest, from attending school and accessing basic education, which affects their future from a young age. Uniforms have the power to cut absenteeism by half — a figure which has really caught my attention. As a result, I decided to raise funds before each of my trips in order to buy school uniforms from local shops for the children in need, and distribute them to the orphanages and schools that I’m going to visit and photograph during my stay.

“School Uniforms” will be in production for three years, between 2019 and 2021. Upon accomplishment, the project will be published into a special photo book and will be exhibited as well as screened in several cities throughout the world in 2022, in conjunction with the 470th anniversary of the first school uniforms and the 800th anniversary of the Cappa Clausa. A selection of artworks will be sold in Limited Editions while others will be put up exclusively for auction. All profits will go towards providing medical, educational and sanitary supplies to the same schools and orphanages visited during production.

 
© Unknown — Myanmar (Burma)

© Unknown — Myanmar (Burma)

 

I’m currently putting together a website page with more infos about the project, including details about the destinations and how you can get involved with the creation of “School Uniforms”. There you will also be able to make a donation towards providing uniforms to children during production, improving their future.

I’m beyond excited about this project and really cannot wait to get started!

 
 

Ophelie RondeauComment