Studio Begnini

Biennale della Fotografia Femminile di Mantova 2024



8th March – 14th April 2024

Mantua, multiple venues

PRESS RELEASE No. 5 2/13/2024

In its third edition, the Biennale della Fotografia Femminile of Mantua (BFFmantova) will open its doors on 8 March 2024, reaffirming its status as a unique event. For over a month, the Lombard town will transform into an international showcase for established artists whose fame is sometimes little known in our country.

Organised by La Papessa Association with the patronage of Regione Lombardia, the Municipality of Mantova, the Fondazione Cariplo and the support of Fujifilm Italia, the BFFmantova has entrusted the artistic direction, as in previous editions, to Alessia Locatelli, who this year has chosen the title ‘Private’, which encompasses various fascinating and contemporary meanings.

The chosen subject is open to all photography genres and it is explored through different interpretations. The theme can be intended as a connection to private life, to the issue of privacy in its definition of public and private in the real world and on social networks. It also addresses the concept of censorship, the Internet, and the world of virtual sharing. It contemplates the reality of post-photography and surveillance of public spaces through cameras, alongside the definition of individual and collective, virtual, and real space. 

An additional perspective centres the issue of private as opposed to public, as per the Treccani Encyclopaedia definition: ‘Private’ – not public, intended for or restricted to the use of a particular person, group, or class. In this sense, ‘Private’ speaks to the issue of incarceration, the erosion of native cultures and language oppression, the matter of gentrification and the deliberate choice of withdrawal and exclusion from society in self-managed communities.

Special attention is also paid to the challenging relationship with nature and ecology reflected in the investigation into the privatisation of services, the environment, water sources and the fallout in the current water and energy crisis.

The same term identifies a sense of deprivation, of subtraction, in the feminine plural form of the Italian language. We believe in the intimate gaze that can portray the emotional sphere and the increasingly complex relationship between personal and public representation.

The Biennale della Fotografia Femminile has always tackled topics concerning social and geopolitical issues: education, classism, the effects of migration found in the deprivation of land, wealth, civil liberties, and neo-colonialism.

The 2024 edition follows the same structure as previous editions, with main exhibitions of Italian and international female photographers: Daria Addabbo – Drought. No water in the Owens Valley (Italia), Luisa Dörr – Imilla (Brasile), Kiana Hayeri – Where prison is a kind of freedom (Afghanistan), Esther Hovers – False Positives (The Netherlands), Tamara Merino – Underland (Chile), Thandiwe Muriu – Camo (Kenya), Photos2 Solitary – Photo requests from solitary (United States), Claudia Ruiz Gustafson – La ciudad en las nubes (United States), Newsha Tavakolian – And They Laughed At Me(Iran) with the support of Deloitte Photo Grant promoted by Deloitte Italia under the patronage of Fondazione Deloitte, Cammie Toloui – The Lusty Lady Series (United States) and a selection of photos by Lisetta Carmi in collaboration with the Lisetta Carmi Archive, Martini and Ronchetti (Genoa).

There are many other initiatives, including an Open call for an Off Circuit, portfolio readings, workshops, children’s workshops, conferences, and screenings of the six docufilms Le Fotografe the series conceived, written, and directed by Francesco G. Raganato, produced by TERRATREMA FILM for SKY ORIGINAL.

The venues are Palazzo Te Tinelli, Casa di Rigoletto, Casa del Mantegna, Galleria Disegno, Spazio Arrivabene2, Casa del Pittore. The selected photographs of the Open Call will be exhibited free of charge in public places in the city involving retailers: an opportunity to make the whole city and tourists participate in the event, thus capturing their attention.

La Papessa cultural association |

It promotes photographic culture from the city of Mantua, where it was born. The project is based on an idea of Anna Volpi (President) and Chiara Maretti (Vice President), both photographers. The symbol representing the association is the figure of ‘The High Priestess’ (La Papessa). For tarot symbolism, she is a woman of spiritual and temporal power conveying knowledge. We are a group of female artists, photographers, visual communication experts, and people generally enthusiastic about art and culture united by the willingness to create new spaces and opportunities in the photography world.


Opening hours, tickets and info | | @bffmantova