Mantua and BFF Mantova celebrate women in photography with a biennale entirely dedicated to female creativity. This first edition, focusing on the theme of work will take place in the historical neighborhoods of the city from the 5th through the 8th of March. The first four days will include conferences, creative workshop, artistic residences and exhibitions. Prestigious guests working in the photography field will be invited. There will also be portfolio readings, interviews and open calls in which all nationalities can apply. The festival is organized by the cultural association La Papessa, under the artistic curation of Alessia Locatelli.
Here are the nine artists selected for this 1st edition:
Annalisa Natalia Murri comes from Bologna. She studied engineering, architecture and urban photography in Valencia. She developed a series of personal and documentary projects particularly inspired by social issues and the impact of history and collective memory in the determination of individual and community identity. In BFF she presents a series called The Cinderellas, an intimate and delicate portrait of the transgender women in Bangladesh as well as a testimony of their difficult social condition.
Claudia Corrent is from Bolzano and has a background in philosophy. She is interested in storytelling and the relationship between people and their environment. In the biennale she is exhibiting Vorrei‘s dyptichs : several portraits of teenage students in a professional institute in Bolzano and their written words concerning their dreams for the future. The series explores the problem of the work system and at the same time it’s a tribute to adolescence in all its energy, freedom and intensity.
Rena Effendi is a documentary photographer from Baku (Azerbaijan), currently based in Instanbul. Her work is particularly committed and investigates people in contexts of social injustices and conflicts. In the biennale she showcases her series Transylvania : built on the grass which talks about the rural Romanian society that still hasn’t seen the effects of industrialization and seems to be suspended in time.
Sandra Hoyn is a German photojournalist, sensitive to subjects involving human rights and social and environmental issues. In the biennale she presents Fighting for a Pittance a project which documents the harsh condition of childs boxing in Thailand, the pressure they are faced with and the exploitation connected to it. The images shot in black and white represent an impressive work of storytelling and vibrant expressiveness.
Daro Sulakauri studied cinematography in Georgia and photography between Tbilsi and New York. Her project The Black Gold, presented in the biennale, is accompanied by a sound installation and documents the dangerous working conditions of Georgian miners in Chiantura.
Erika Larsen is an American photographer and multidisciplinary storyteller interested in the investigation of cultures that maintain strong ties with nature. Her first monograph is a reportage about the Sàmi people entitled Sàmi, Walking with Reindeer. In the biennale she introduces Quinhagak, a series of work produced between 2015-2019. She is currently working on a project in Alaska concerning salmon.
Eliza Bennet is a British photographer from the Midlands, now living between London and Staffordshire. Her background in art and fashion design as well as working experience in costume and prop making gave to her the inspiration for the project. A Woman’s Work Is Never Done investigates the juxtaposition between male and female work while at the same time trying to destroy some clichés.
Nausicaa Giulia Bianchi is an Italian documentary photographer and teacher. She studied at the ICP in New York where she worked as an assistant for photographers such as Mary Ellen Mark and Suzanne Opton. She invested her time in the monumental Women Priests Project, which is about women catholic priests who are not recognized by the Vatican because according to its law, only a male can be ordained as a priest. The aim of her work is the investigation of invisible aspects of reality such as memory, spirituality and feminism.
Betty Colombo is an Italian phojournalist who studied fine arts and cultural anthropology. She interned with Gianni Berengo Gardin and Ken Damy and assisted Helmut Newton during some shootings in Milan. She worked in sport and fashion photography before becoming a reporter. Her storytelling work showcases in the biennale is entitled La Riparazione (the reparation) and depicts the controversial relationship of the human and the planet, the struggle and perpetual cycle of destruction and healing.
Aside from the main event, the festival will house the screening of the winners of The Premio Musa 2019 : Mariagrazia Baruffi with Chinese Whispers and Claudia Amatruda with Naiade.
In addition, the biennale is hosting OFF circuit : a selection of 10 photographers chosen through an open call that received 117 participations from all over the world.