BNL-BNP Paribas Group Award 2021



The BNL Gruppo BNP Paribas award was awarded today by a jury of experts to Federica Belli (Mondovì, CN, 1998) for her work “The Eye” (2020), presented by Galleria Valeria Bella in Milan.

“We have reached the tenth edition of this event – reads the motivation of the Jury (composed of Mauro Bombacigno, Head of Engagement BNL Gruppo BNP Paribas Italia, Fabio Castelli, Francesca Malgara, Nicola Zanella) – which sees BNL and MIA Image Art Fair working side by side, and we are delighted to be able to celebrate in-person. BNL Gruppo BNP Paribas’ commitment also takes the form of the purchase of the winning work to enrich its art collection”.
“BNL Gruppo BNP Paribas has chosen to award the project of Federica Belli, 22-year-old, represented at MIA Milan Image Art Fair by the gallery Valeria Bella. The chosen photographs are the artist’s gaze told through portraits and, above all, self-portraits. The narration of her shots reflects the historical moment we are living in, almost as if they were Instagram posts of an alienated and necessarily very intimate everyday life. Federica Belli’s talent is expressed in the originality of her photos, which are never banal and are capable of creating immediate empathy in the viewer”.

The project fits perfectly into the vision of BNL Gruppo BNP Paribas, which this year decided to support creative people who often work in difficult situations, especially from an economic point of view. The Bank has been able to appreciate the value of Federica Belli since the beginning of her career and is happy to follow her in what is sure to be an exciting development, while also welcoming her to the BNL art collection.
The winning artwork will be acquired by the Bank and will become part of the BNL collection, which now numbers over 5,000 works.

The jury of the BNL Gruppo BNP Paribas award has also decided to award a special mention to the photograph UNTITLED (FLOWERS 21) by the late Giovanni Gastel, represented by the Foundation named after him.

Milan, 6 October 2021

Federica Belli, Mondovì (1998), The Eye, 2020, stampa Fine Art ai pigmenti di colore, esemplare 1/8, Galleria Valeria Bella
Federica Belli, Mondovì (1998), The Eye, 2020, stampa Fine Art ai pigmenti di colore, esemplare 1/8, Galleria Valeria Bella
Federica Belli, Mondovì (1998), The Eye, 2020, stampa Fine Art ai pigmenti di colore, esemplare 1/8, Galleria Valeria Bella
Federica Belli, Mondovì (1998), The Eye, 2020, stampa Fine Art ai pigmenti di colore, esemplare 1/8, Galleria Valeria Bella
Federica Belli, Mondovì (1998), The Eye, 2020, stampa Fine Art ai pigmenti di colore, esemplare 1/8, Galleria Valeria Bella
Federica Belli, Mondovì (1998), The Eye, 2020, stampa Fine Art ai pigmenti di colore, esemplare 1/8, Galleria Valeria Bella



Since its first edition, the importance and variety of the prizes awarded during MIA Fair represent one of the excellences of the most important Italian fair dedicated to photography. Among these, the most important role is covered by the BNL Gruppo BNP Paribas Award. In these days, the Jury of the Award has selected the 15 finalists of the tenth edition of the Award, a concrete recognition given to the best among the artists who submitted their works through the art galleries.

The 15 finalists are:

  1. Elizabeth Aro – Serie Los Otros – Luis / BABS Art Gallery (Milan, Italy).
  2. Federica Belli – The eye/ Valeria Bella (Milan)
  3. Manuel Braun – Maéva/Galerie Véronique Rieffel (Abidjan)
  4. Laurent Chéhère – Le Charmeur D’Oiseaux (The charmer of birds) / Forni (Bologna)
  5. Anna Di Prospero – Untitled (Mediterranean Sea) / MLB Gallery (Ferrara)
  6. Yojiro Imasaka – Illuminating Earth #45 / Marignana Arte (Venice)
  7. Francesco Jodice – Capri, The Diefenbach Chronicles, #016 / Michela Rizzo Gallery and SHAREVOLUTION contemporary art (Venice / Genoa)
  8. Vangelis Kyris& Anatoli Georgiev – Costume from Corfu – 19th century / Kourd Gallery (Athens)
  9. Marc Lagrange – High-Relief / SmithDavidson Gallery (Amsterdam)
  10. Yushi Li – The Death of Actaeon / Vasli Souza (Oslo)
  11. Gregori Maiofis – Adversity makes strange bedfellows / Shtager Gallery (London)
  12. Beth Moon – Tarazed (Apulian Olive Tree) / Salamon Fine Art (Milan)
  13. Giulia Parlato – Lizard / Podbielski Contemporary (Milan)
  14. Lamberto Pignotti – Dilatando lo spazio (diptych) / Clivio Gallery (Milan / Parma)
  15. Nicolò Quirico – Milan, Colossal / Federico Rui Arte Contemporanea (Milan)

The winner will be announced on Wednesday, October 6 at SUPERSTUDIO MAXI in Milan (via Moncucco 35) during the preview of the event reserved to the press.

The jury of the BNL Gruppo BNP Paribas Award has also decided to assign a special mention to the photograph UNTITLED (FLOWERS 21) by Giovanni Gastel. This photograph belongs to one of his last series, testimony of the creative vitality that distinguished him until the end. This recognition is not meant to be a tribute, but a thank you to a fundamental artist who had a very strong bond with MIA Fair.

“This Fair – Giovanni Gastel said – represents an opportunity to confirm Milan’s international vocation on an artistic level and to transmit through exhibitions and collateral events not only knowledge, but passion for a field that has marked my entire life”. And if BNL Gruppo BNP Paribas has decided to institute an award for photography, it is also due to those who, like him, have made this wonderful means of expression great.

Thank you Giovanni.

Elizabeth Aro, Serie Los Otros – Luis, 2011, Stampa digitale con ricamo di filo rosso, 75.5cm x 65.5cm x 1.2cm, opera unica, Courtesy BABS Art Gallery

Federica Belli, The eye, 2020, stampa fine art ai pigmenti di colore su carta cotone, 50cm x 75cm, edizione 1/8 + 2PA, Courtesy Valeria Bella

Manuel Braun, Maéva, 2021, Inkjet on Baryta Hahnemühle 315g, 150cm x 112cm, edizione 1/7, Courtesy Galerie Véronique Rieffel

Laurent Chéhère, Le Charmeur D’Oiseaux (L’incantatore di uccelli), 2021, Stampa fine art,120cm x 120cm x 5cm, edizione 2 / 5 + 2PA, Courtesy Forni

Anna Di Prospero, Untitled (Mediterranean Sea), 2018, Stampa inkjet fine art, edizione 2 / 6 + 2PA, Courtesy MLB Gallery (Ferrara)

Yojiro Imasaka, Illuminating Earth #45, 2020, Stampa Cromogenica, 105cm x 165cm x 4cm, edizione 2 / 2 + 2PA, Courtesy Marignana Arte

Francesco Jodice, Capri, The Diefenbach Chronicles, #016, 2021, Stampa Inkjet su carta cotone,100cm x 127cm, edizione 1 / 8 + 1PA, Courtesy Galleria Michela Rizzo e SHAREVOLUTION contemporary art

Vangelis Kyris & Anatoli Georgiev, Costume from Corfu – 19th century, 2014, Stampato su 100% cotone e ricamato a mano (punto croce) con filo di cotone. Ricamato in oro a mano con un filo di metallo d’oro cucendo corde e ricamando catene con un filo di cotone, 126cm x 104cm x 5cm, edizione 1 / 1 + 1PA, Courtesy Kourd Gallery

Marc Lagrange, Alto-Rilievo, 2015, gelatina d’argento, 75cm x 50cm, edizione 7 / 7, Courtesy SmithDavidson Gallery

Yushi Li, The Death of Actaeon, 2021, Stampa cromogenica analogica, 102cm x 128cm x 5cm, edizione 1 / 3 + 2PA, Courtesy Vasli Souza

Gregori Maiofis, Adversity makes strange bedfellows, 2014, bromoil transfer, 45cm x 45cm, edizione 9 / 15 + 1PA, Courtesy Shtager Gallery

Beth Moon, Tarazed (Ulivo Pugliese), 2020, stampa digitale su carta cotone, 100cm x 150cm, edizione 1 / 15, Courtesy Salamon Fine Art

Giulia Parlato, Lizard, 2020, Giclée, 100cm x 80cm x 5cm, edizione 6 / 8 + 1PA, Courtesy Podbielski Contemporary

Lamberto Pignotti, Dilatando lo spazio (dittico), primi anni 70, 17.6cm x 23.7cm e 29cm x 21cm, rispettivamente foto e manoscritto, vintage, Courtesy Galleria Clivio

Nicolò Quirico, Milano, Colossal, 2021, stampa fotografica su collage di pagine di libri d’epoca, 83cm x 250cm x 3.5 cm, edizione 1 / 5, Courtesy Federico Rui Arte Contemporanea

Giovanni Gastel, UNTITLED (FLOWERS 21), 2020, Fine Art Giclée on Hahnemühle Photo Rag, 100cm x 80cm, edizione 1 / 5 + 2PA, Courtesy Giovanni Gastel

BNL Gruppo BNP Paribas, strong in its role and history as one of Italy’s leading banking groups, has demonstrated in many occasions its willingness to defend Italy’s artistic heritage supporting the development of creative talents; this year BNL renews its commitment to promoting cultural initiatives by presenting the ninth edition of the BNL Gruppo BNP Paribas Award.

The competition, jointly organized with MIA Fair and dedicated to photography and video, is intended to be a new opportunity to confirm BNL Gruppo BNP Paribas’ interest in the development of culture and research into contemporary art in Italy.

Participation in the BNL Gruppo BNP Paribas prize is reserved to all photographs or video artworks by artists exhibiting through the galleries selected for MIA Fair.

Given the purpose of this competition, which is to promote and disseminate contemporary art and culture in Italy, the winning artwork will be acquired by BNL.

MIA Fair 2021 – 7- 10 October 2021

Milan, SUPERSTUDIO MAXI (via Moncucco 35)

For further information:

MIA Fair Organization office

Via San Vincenzo 22 – 20123 Milan | Phone +39.02.83241412 –

Press Office

CLP Public Relations

Stefania Rusconi | Phone +39.02.36755700 ||

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