Twelve sites in total Mantua, all very central. Palazzo Te, the House of Mantegna, the House of Rigoletto, the House of the Painter, but also galleries, art spaces, bookstores. They are united by a single thread, the feminine gaze, that of the artists of BFF, the Biennale of Women’s Photography which is now in its third edition.

BFF, the Biennial of Women’s Photography in Mantua

The first thing to take into consideration is that this exhibition, curated by Alessia Locatelli, is dedicated to culture, visibility, feminine and queer photographic professionalism. But without entering the simplistic world of “female quotas” or “the other face of photography”.

As the curator herself says: “There is no female gaze in photography, gender does not matter. » What matters is to highlight the work of women photographers who, in this case, were chosen to address the private problem. The title of the journal is, in fact, Private.

A private which has different meanings: salvific subtraction or deprivation? And what does deprivation mean, to be deprived? BFF artists tell it.

Luisa Dörr, 2019-2021

The protagonists of the 2024 edition

There are photographers from yesterday and today, those who used Agfa (Silette series) with film, like the Genovese Lisetta Carmidied in 2022 and celebrates the centenary of his birth.

A former successful pianist who later became a photographer, she captured, with rigor and an almost musical rhythm, the daily life of women in Sardinia in 1964 and Sicily in 1977, with their black dresses, immersed in landscapes, bumpy roads, stones. Houses.

The American Cammie TolouiHowever, already in the 90s we were asking ourselves “What do we do when we are not seen?”, “To what extent do we want to show our existence?”.

His photographic project, entitled, The Lusty Lady series, he focused on a peep show, one in which he worked to support his studies, telling in black and white the double link between intimacy and voyeurism.

Esther Hovers, Preview I, Duration 05 min 42, 2016

Esther Hoverwho lives and works in The Hague, Netherlands, has studied how surveillance systems study our behavior, but also urban planning and the use of public space.

He conducted his research, entitled False positivesaround the business district of the city of Brussels, with the collaboration of surveillance experts, combining photos and model drawings.

The Kenyan Thandiwe Muriu, who discovered photography as an autodidact from his adolescence, became passionate about the theme of camouflage, with the series Camouflagein which the concept of forced withdrawal into the private environment is disrupted by a new vision of the African woman and her autonomy.

For a new concept of beauty, entirely African. The series is also colorful and busy ImillaSkate from Brazilian Luisa Dorrthe photographic story of the revenge of the young Bolivian skaters who regain their pollerasthe voluminous traditional skirts, to get on the table and try out a still purely masculine sport, shaking up all stereotypes and demonstrating that you can be what you want by bringing your origins to the street.

The Iranian Newsha Tavakolianmember of the Magnum agency since 2019, presents to you And they made fun of mededicated to Iranian women, caught between letting themselves be sucked into darkness or fighting it by heading towards the light.

Tandiwe Muriu, It takes imagination, 2022

Deprivation is also the theme chosen by Kiana Hayeriwhich focuses on some women incarcerated in Afghan prisons guilty of murdering their husbands, while the story of the Roman Daria Addabbo it involves the drying up of the Owens River, piped to supply the city of Los Angeles' water supply, with the resulting threat to the survival of local communities.

And then there are the stories of Underground brushOf Tamara Merinos, who lives in Chile and is dedicated to communities of people who have found freedom by voluntarily fleeing urbanization. A deprivation which nevertheless allowed them to find new ecological, natural and above all human balances.

READ ALSO: The most beautiful nature photos rewarded by the British Wildlife Photography Awards 2024

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Times and tickets

BFF2024 is open until April 14 every Saturday and Sunday (and Easter Monday). Tickets can be purchased online within 24 hours before the chosen date or directly at the Casa del Mantegna box office (Via G. Acerbi, 47, open only on festival days, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.). On the bffmantova.com website, you will find prices (full prices and discounts), ways to reach the BFF (car, train, bus and plane), suggestions for places to eat and sleep.

Newsha Tavakolian, And They Made fun of Me, 2023

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