Commissioned by the General Consulate of Italy in Barcelona and carried out with the collaboration of the Dreamers Academy platform, the project aims to give visibility to the talent, the professionalism and the creativity that brought some Italian women to lead, in this case in Spain and Barcelona, roles of international prestige.
They are women engaged in science, such as astrophysics Nanda Rea and Caterina Biscari, director of the Alba Synchrotron; medicine; architecture, where we find the award-winning architect Benedetta Tagliabue and the lighting designer Michela Mezzavilla; design; art; journalism and media in general; fashion, with the very famous, in different eras, Antonia Dell’Atte and Renata Zanchi, food and wine with the president of Slow Food Barcelona Chiara Bombardi, literature, music, cinema, theater and more.
We hope their portraits can spark curiosity about their stories, so to be an inspiration for the new generations, and to let them know they can freely choose their professional and life paths without prejudices and cultural or social impositions.
I portrayed 28 women, all of them participated in the creative process by choosing a place to which they are emotionally or professionally connected, a cherished place in the city.
I live in the center of Barcelona, and went walking to every photographic meeting in all the different points of the city, like Horta, Carmel, Montjuic.
I took my time to take pictures of the city and everything I met on my way, crossing it in this singular ritual.
In this map you can find the locations of all the photo shoots:
I shot with different types of cameras, films and formats, and above all trying to look at these women with my heart to tell real, spontaneous and beautiful moments.
During the photo shoots I only used the natural light of the city, and no postproduction was added.
These portraits are not perfect but they are real, like all of us, like life itself.
The moment in which the photos were taken was a very special one, very difficult, at the beginning of the reopening of the city. We were all still afraid and careful after a year in the pandemic.
In a time when it was not easy to just be without a mask in front of a stranger, they were brave in taking off their shells, to let me portray them as I wanted, in their most authentic form.
I always say that the portrait is the most delicate photograph, a conversation between souls. You need to feel involved to generate an encounter that is pure.
The harmony of our encounters guided us.
We have chosen to exhibit a selection of some of these photographs outside, in the wonderful garden of the prestigious Palau Robert, to recreate my own experience of getting to know the girls by walking to meet them and learn about their stories.
The venue for this exhibition is one of the most visited and lived places by locals and tourists in the city and for us it was certainly the perfect place to show the pictures of the “Ragazze Italiane” but also those of the city that welcomes them, Barcelona.
The exhibition was created with the support of Gaia Danese, Consul General of Italy in Barcelona, of the Mayoress of Barcelona, Ada Colau, as well as that of Victòria Alsina i Burgués (Minister for Foreign Action and Transparency) and Teresa Cunillera (Spanish Government Delegate in Catalonia).
As a tribute to Italian women in Barcelona we choose also to have their pictures as a permanent exhibition in the new Consulate General of Italy in this city, just inaugurated in Carrer Aribau 185.
For this exhibition I have selected 36 photographs, including portraits and images of the city, different from those exhibited at the Palau Robert and in the book.
Spanish and Italian Institutions were present at the inauguration including Riccardo Guariglia, Italian ambassador to Spain, Ada Colau, Mayoress of Barcelona and of course Gaia Danese, Consul General of Italy in Barcelona.
The photographs will remain on display here but will also have the opportunity to be exhibited in other spaces or events.
The project also takes shape in a book, designed in collaboration with the Italian award-winning editorial design studio Nationhood.
The selection of photographic images, in this format, is even wider than in the exhibitions.
In the book, in addition to a greater number of portraits, there are also more pictures of the places in the city of Barcelona chosen by the protagonists or discovered by me during the trips to meet the “Ragazze Italiane”.
Thanks to all the institutions that have helped us, and a special thanks to the Consul General of Italy Gaia Danese for having believed in the project so much, from the very beginning, together with Anna Mastrolitto – a dreamer by profession.
This project is dedicated to the memory of Elsa Peretti, style icon, philanthropist, revolutionary designer and unrepeatable woman.