Pioneer and Women and the Sea


Two exhibitions to celebrate Women’s Day

8-19 March 2023

Images from the photographic Archive of Francesco Leoni, loaned by Fondazione Paolo e Giuliana Clerici to highlight two as-yet unfinished journeys on the road to achieving social evolution and commitment to emancipation.

Pioniere” (Pioneers)

An exhibition in locations scattered throughout the local area, it was inspired by an idea of the Regional authorities for Liguria to celebrate women, past and present, who have distinguished themselves in their fields, and allow their voices to be heard.

Curated by Anna Dentoni – the representative for Fondazione Paolo e Giuliana Clerici – and Clara Maria Fabbri, the exhibition revealed 40 photographs taken by Francesco Leone, portraying as many “pioneering” women. The snapshots captured a fifty-year history of female emancipation, and the upheaval experienced by Italian society in recent decades.

The images were displayed on 10 media panels measuring three metres in height. They were placed beside the fountain of Piazza De Ferrari in Genoa, as well as Savona, La Spezia and Imperia, with a panel in front of each Town Council.

Le donne e il mare” (Women and the Sea)

Ten breath-taking photographs taken by Francesco Leone between 1936 and 1960 reveal the profound influence Liguria and its sea have had on women’s lives through the years. The photographs were reproduced in a large format, and were placed on display in the Saletta dell’Arte room of Genoa’s Galata Maritime Museum.

The exhibition was curated by Anna Dentoni and Clara Maria Fabbri, who handpicked portraits and situations that illustrated the relationship between women and the sea in a variety of contexts. The female diver at the pools of Albaro, the little girls at Marina Fara summer camp in Chiavari, female crews in rowing boats during the celebrations in honour of the first Doge of Genoa, participants in the women’s littoriali femminili fascist-era games on the bridge of the Andrea Doria ship, Evita Peron’s arrival in Genoa, women making sails for boats, women travelling to meet their husbands in Australia, and women at work at the Carega fried food shop at Sottoripa.