For today’s Cameo we’re having 34 year-old Canadian photographer Sara Hylton. Sara shares with us Women of God, a series of portraits of Dalit women: in India‘s caste-based society, the Dalits are the members of the lowest, poorest and most marginalized castes. In addition to such difficult living conditions, Dalit women in particular are also frequently the victims of sex-based discriminations and rape by the men who belong to the higher castes.
What is photography for you?
Photography is a tool to explore humanity and its depths. It’s a very meditative and deeply reflective medium that allows me to be in the moment, to be present in my body and mind, to get my way into intimate moments, spaces, and places that I otherwise wouldn’t have access to. It helps me to be fearless and it makes me a better human. It’s also the tool that gives me a voice—I’ve never been a big talker, but I speak a lot through my imagery.
What is Women of God about?
Women of God explores women and girls affected by “untouchability” in Nepal, India, and Sri Lanka. Untouchability refers to lower caste people, called Dalits, who are considered polluting to higher caste people. A recent publication of this series states the following: “The United Nations estimates that there are nearly 100 million Dalit women living in India alone, and four Dalit women are raped every day according to India’s National Crime Records Bureau. Dalit women are one of the most vulnerable and at risk groups of society who experience the weight of their caste in specific and gendered ways”. These numbers often dehumanize those who are affected by this human rights issue. Women of God aims to cut through these numbers and humanely and intimately share the stories of Dalit women, some of the most marginalized individuals in South Asia.