Seven Uniforms

by Sanjit Dhillon [Photography]

Artist Statement

Originally presented as an accordion-fold photo book, Seven Uniforms depicts a series of boiler suits photographed to show the varying levels of use and dishevelment from being worn on a regular basis. The final image in the series is a photograph of my father wearing one of the uniforms to challenge the sterility and indexicality of the series. The resistance to impersonalness stems from my familial relation to labour as many of my relatives have spent decades working in factory environments to provide for their families. The result of the arduous and physically exhaustive hours are now manifesting in an array of illnesses and disabilities as they age. There is also a resistance to separate the worker from their labour as for many machine operators – like my father – are trained to produce specific parts that are then shipped elsewhere to be assembled in automotive engines, and then placed into vehicles by another party. The levels of detachment from the final product produces a sense of abstraction for the worker who has no authorship over their work and products created.

While the series has been reimagined for print, the original photo book was a series of seven images to signify the number of days in a factory workweek.

Sanjit Dhillon is a multidisciplinary artist, curator and arts administrator based in Toronto, Canada. Her practice centres on ideas of memory, invisible labour, the debilitating effects of mental illness, and the limits of visual culture in creating and disseminating identity. She is currently completing her BFA in Criticism and Curatorial Practice at OCAD University. Her recent work includes co-curating Unvanishing Traces at Xpace Cultural Centre and curating content for DUTY FREE magazine. She has also exhibited at SOON: South Asian Evocations and Becomings and BIDING MY TIME/BITING MY TONGUE as part of PEERS Projects at Whippersnapper Gallery. She is a settler on Dish with One Spoon territory with her family arriving here from Punjab, India.