The Swiss photographer with Iranian roots Arunà Canevascini has won the latest edition of the Book Dummy Award, with her work Villa Argentina. This international award has been organised by La Fábrica and Photo London, with the collaboration of the printer Brizzolis and the British Journal of Photography, with the aim of selecting and publishing a major auteur photography book which stands for its quality, uniqueness and international scope.
The jury has been comprised by the photography experts and curators Mónica Allende, Rodrigo Orrantia and Susan Bright, the designer Fernando Gutiérrez, the photographers Cristina de Middel (Spanish National Photography Award 2017) and Stephen Gill, Prix Pictet’s project manager Lisa Springer, the British Journal of Photography’s editorial director Simon Bainbridge and La Fábrica‘s the general manager and editor Álvaro Matías.
Villa Argentina, is a visual exploration of the relationship between the photographer and her mother, set in the family house in the South of Switzerland, “Villa Argentina.” Canevascini’s mother is an Iranian artist who spent her childhood in Tehran as a secluded child, a condition of isolation that she somehow replicates in her life as an adult and to which the photographer makes reference in this unique work of color photography.
Villa Argentina also explores the issue of migration from the second generation’s perspective—that of the children of immigrants who were born and grew up in the receiving country—, their dual identity and their search for their roots. In the photographer’s words “Growing up in Switzerland, Iranian culture came to me as a distant echo.”
The book represents the house of “Villa Argentina” as a stage for mother and daughter’s poetic universe, as well as a backdrop for the arrangements of objects created for the camera. Hence, the project combines images of domestic life and seclusion with photographs of objects specially created for the camera by the photographer and nudes that examine the special relationship between mother and daughter.