The Rugbywomen: Tackling Stereotypes
Camilo Leon-Quijano, France
Camilo Leon-Quijano was born in Bogotá, Columbia, and lives in Paris, where he studied sociology and focussed on Latin American studies at the Sorbonne. His photos have been published inter alia in the Washington Post, in Líberation, Paris Match, and Vice, he has had exhibitions in France, in the USA, in Germany, and Italy. Leon-Quijano was finalist and award-winner of several competitions such as Lens Culture, Prix la France Mutualiste, and the UNICEF Photo of the Year 2018. In addition to the rugby girls, the people in the suburbs of Paris in general are his favourite subject at present.
There are sports which would appear to be more peaceful than rugby of all sports. And there are more pleasant urban areas than Sarcelles, a suburb in Northern Paris which is one of the poorest and most infamous banlieues of France. But Camilo Leon-Quijano has photographed a lighthearted story, a story about success, ambition, encouragement and self-discipline, self-assertion and careers. In 2015, the coach Florian Clement founded a girl rugby team at the Collège Chantereine, which means so much more than playing sports. It is rather about families of coloured migrants freeing themselves from the classic lives they lead in the banlieues. ‘Tackling stereotypes’ has a happy ending. All the 20 girls of the rugby team have graduated from school, and some have succeeded in being recruited by professional clubs. (Text by Peter-Matthias Gaede)