Mantua (Italy) - March 2020

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Mantua (Italy) - March 2020
The cultural association La Papessa organizes the Biennale of Female Photography from March 5th through the 8th in Mantua (Italy), a city rich of art and history, elected cultural capital of Italy in 2016. The theme of this first edition is the world of work.

The Biennale will showcase a selection of projects by national and international professional female photographers. These exhibitions will be held in historical venues of the city and will remain open for the month of March.

During the first four days, there will be creative workshops, conferences, photographer and exhibition presentations, with the participation of important figures in and outside the field of photography.

There will be portfolio readings, interviews, and an open call for all nationalities, a unique opportunity to show your work in Mantua's public spaces during the Biennale.



A photographer from Bologna, after her studies in architecture and urban photography in Valencia and a degree in engineering, she has carried out a series of personal and documentary projects.

The Cinderellas in this story are not like the ones in the fairy tales, but are Hijras from Bangladesh. Once venerated and respected for being part of the “third gender”, nowadays these transgender women suffer in poverty as their rights are denied, finding themselves forced into prostitution to survive. But the tragedy of these discriminations is not what Murri's black and whites show us. The portrait of the Hijras we see here is an intimate one, silent and profoundly respectful that shows a glimmer of these people's souls.



From Bolzano, she studied philosophy, working on the communicative and aesthetic aspects of images.

Exploring the concept of a working life, Vorrei's diptychs present teenage students in a professional training school in Bolzano next to their written words of their dreams for the future. In these photos, the author finds problems in the work system that we are all part of, showing it through the eyes of who is about to step into it. The young students in the pictures are still in a limbo of youth that is full of dreams, energy, but also objectives. Each of them gives the viewer a piece of themselves, of their personality that is shaping, posing for Claudia Corrent with freedom and intensity.


Transylvania: built on grass

Originally from Azerbaijan, Effendi is a documentary photographer who has been active since 2011.

Her images investigate human nature, people and cultures in contexts of social injustice, conflict and exploitation. In  Transylvania: built on grass she brings us to rural Romania that seems to be suspended in time. Work in the fields, in the pasture and the farms has been carried on for centuries with traditional methods, it's a world where labor is a collective physical effort in which every member of the family participates. Effendi's view captures the double dimensions of a rural society that still hasn't been touched by the industrialization of work: if on one hand it's like observing the fragments of a fable, on the other the duress of agricultural life can be read in the actions, eyes and faces of the community.


Fighting for a Pittance

A German photojournalist, Hoyn has been working on projects tied to human rights and social and environmental issues since 2005.

Through a series of black and white images, Fighting for a Pittance documents the harshness of child boxing in Thailand and the exploitation connected to it. The photographs show us not only the violence in the ring, but the psychological pressure as well which goes hand in hand with unleashed competition. Boys and girls go through strict training, bringing their bodies and mind to the limit, as they wear the clothes of adult fighters.


The black gold

Sulakauri studied cinema and photography in Tbilisi, Georgia, to then obtain a degree in documentary photojournalism at the International Center of Photography in New York.

In the town of Chiatura, Georgia, gold has the black color of manganese. This is the nation's largest manganese reserve and the local community is for the most part employed in extraction work. The black gold brings us to the heart of Georgian miner's working conditions in Chiatura. Every day men walk towards the mines, working in harsh and dangerous conditions for 8 to 12 hours a day for a salary of about 270 dollars. The project is accompanied by a sound installation.


Work in progress

American photographer, she uses multi media language to investigate and show cultures that have strong ties with nature.

One of her more famous works is the reportage on the Sàmi people entitled “Sàmi, Walking with Reindeer”, which culminated in a book in 2013. As of 2017 she is a National Geographic Fellow, and is carrying on a project for them that captures the connection between animals and the indigenous people of the Americas. Her photography reveals invisible bonds that tie the places and cultures linked to them, including belief systems. She is currently working on a project in Alaska regarding salmon: these images are still unpublished and will be shown at the Biennale.


A Woman's work is never done
A British artist born in 1980, Bennett MAFA City & Guilds of London Art School, initially studied and trained in Fashion design at Middlesex University. Her early experience of working in low paid ancillary roles as both a care worker and seamstress provided the catalyst for the project.

Embroidery is traditionally associated with the idea of female work, intended as a meticulous and agile job, far from the physical fatigue of male work. In  A Woman’s work is never done, Eliza Bennet subverts this juxtaposition between male and female work, using the top layer of her skin as a canvas for embroidery. Using a technique that is considered female, the artist gives a representative image of the hands of women busy in ancillary occupations invisible to society. The intent is to show how the work of women is far from easy and light.


Women Priests Project

Bianchi is a documentary photographer profoundly oriented towards themes on spirituality tied to the feminine and the divine.

In the Catholic world the ordination of female priests is still not allowed and as such represents a taboo for the Catholic community around the world. Whoever disobeys this rule is punished with excommunication. Nonetheless, in the last few decades, there has been an international movement of women who have decided to disobey, becoming ordained priests and starting a profound process of spiritual and religious innovation in the Catholic communities where they live. With Women Priests Project Giulia Bianchi collects the stories and images of the women bringing on this unprecedented change. In her evocative images we can find pieces of places that are as familiar as they are charged with innovation thanks to the transformative role of female spirituality.

More news on additional exhibitions coming soon

As of September 16th 2019 our open call applications for an off circuit of the first edition of the Biennale of Female Photography 2020 are open.  Terms and conditions and further details are available here.  

The call is open to all people who were born, have become or are becoming women.
The photographic projects must explore the theme of this edition, which is work.
The main projects of the BFF have already been selected and will be exhibited in various places in the center of Mantova.  

The open call applications will be selected by the BFF commission and will be shown in public places in Mantova in an off circuit open to the public.
Within this selection there will be three prizes awarded by a jury composed of: Vice Italia, Fotofabbrica Piacenza, R84 Multifactory Mantova.

What are we looking for?
The theme of the first edition of BFF is wok, paid or not. Work, in its absence or presence, determines social roles, creates economies, exploitation, migrations; it determines human relationships, conditions people's mindset, models the future, conserves traditions. Work can be creative, occasional, institutional, research; it can be done out of need, pleasure, interest, despair or obligation.
It will be possible to send single images or small projects.

Looking forward to seeing your work!

Team BFF Apply to our Open Call



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