Women in Photography 2017: Watsamon Tri-yasakda
Women in Photography 2017: Asian Women Photographers’ Showcase Slideshow Projection
7465 | Watsamon Tri-yasakda
One of the most asked questions is “what do you want to be when you grow up?”. But nobody ever asks the youth, “what do you want to be now?”
From kindergarten to university, Thai students wear school uniform for 22 years, or basically all their life while being young. From head to toe, there are school rules applied to hair style, outfit, socks and shoes. Thai student uniform represents unity, hegemony, hierarchical, class distinction, and patronage. Some uniforms have a name and student ID number on the shirt, but do they represent the identity of student who wear them at all?
Students are required to dress in the school uniform according to their biological sex— male and female. Most public schools still have a strict policy on dress code. The male students are required to have military hair style while female students are required to have a bob or have their hair tied at all times. In high school, many male students participate in the Reserve Officer Training Cops Student (ROTCS) in which they have to be trained by the soldiers and follow by their rule. Thai youth only has their freedom on their hairstyle during university years onwards.
For a young Thai who was born as male but does not identify as one or live up to the norm of masculinity, they are forced to embrace the male uniform by wearing a white shirt with shorts and a military hairstyle for all their youth. Their only option is to wear a school uniform that they cannot choose.
“7465” represents the hidden identify of youth that was forced from being freely expressed. Under the uniformity, they tried to be themselves as much as possible. “7465” is not just a student number sewed on their uniform, but also a fight for their own identification. ‘Young, free and being me’ is what they want to be.
About Watsamon Tri-yasakda
Watsamon Tri-yasakda, also known as “June” is a Thai photographer. She’s actively documenting issues of human rights for LGBTIQ community in Thailand and Southeast Asia. She works with local and international editorial publications, organizations and commercial clients.
Watsamon’s ongoing project on a life of Thai transman, “MR. PEARL”, has been shown in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and South Korea in 2016. She was also selected for Chiangmai Documentary Arts Festival’s Mentor Program, Thailand in 2015, The Southeast Asian Photography Masterclass Scholarship 2016-2017 organized by Obscura Photo Festival in Malaysia, and UNDP’s Being LGBTIQ in Asia Media Fellowship Programme in 2016.
Her latest project on Thai LGBTQ youth and uniform, “7465” is a result of the Southeast Asian Masterclass. The work is a part of group exhibition that first shown in Penang in August 2017, and also featured in “we will have been young” photo book.
Born in 1990, Watsamon graduated with a B.A. in Cultural Studies from Chulalongkorn University in 2013. She has earned a Diploma in Photojournalism, Konrad Adenauer Asian Center for Journalism with a full scholarship at the Ateneo de Manila University in 2015.
Women in Film & Photography Showcase Programme
:: Women in Photography Exhibition: 13 Oct to 19 Nov
:: Guided photographer & curator tour: 13 Oct, Fri, 230pm to 330pm
:: Panel Discussion – Woman Photographer: 13 Oct, Fri, 730pm to 9pm
:: Artist talks: 14 Oct, Sat, 2pm to 430pm
:: Slideshow Projection featuring Asian Women Photographers’ Showcase: 15 Nov, Wed, 730pm to 830pm
:: Women in Film 2017 (19 to 28 Oct)