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1854 & British Journal of Photography in collaboration with Galerie Huit Arles present the winners of the third edition of OpenWalls Arles

From 1854 and BJP, OpenWalls Arles is an international photography award created in collaboration with Galerie Huit Arles. OpenWalls offers a unique opportunity for both emerging and established photographers to be exhibited alongside Les Rencontres d’Arles — the photography industry’s most prestigious annual event.

The theme for OpenWalls Arles 2021 is Then & Now, compounding two bodies of work and 54 images that convery the changes that time brings and the lessons to be learned from history - personal political or otherwise. What has the unprecedented pas year taught us? How does history repeat itself? How do we enact change? 


From growing up gay in Brazil to the duality of religious sensibility in Nigeria, UFO sightings in Finland to the barbed wire border between Mexico and the USA, the captivating curation traverses meditations on conflict, memory, loss, family, heritage, and beyond. 


OpenWalls Arles 2021 will be exhibited at Galerie Huit Arles – a 17th century mansion and art space in the cultural heart of the city – between 4 July until 26 September. The gallery is a member of the Gallery Climate Coalition, and the exhibition will be produced sustainably including using recycled frames and local printing. 


Winners have been curated by an industry-leading panel of judges, including Moshe Rosenzveig OAM, Founder and Creative Director of Head On Photo Festival; Frances Jakubek, Director of Exhibitions and Operations at Bruce Silverstein Gallery, New York City; Julia de Bierre, Gallery Director, Galerie Huit Arles; Peipei Han, Independent curator and former Associate Director, PHOTOFAIRS, and more.



© Christopher Iduma

Winning images                 51 Photographers

Ada Trillo
Amiee O’Mahony
Alessando Puccinelli
Alessando Durini
Alexandra Lapina
Aria Shahrokhshahi
Bartu Kaan
Carla Liesching
Christopher Iduma
Clair Robins
Claudio Ahlers
Daro Sulakauri
Elena Kollatou &
Leonidas Toumpanos
Francesca Cirilli
Frederic Aranda
Giovanni Del Brenna
Güzin Mut
Hossein Farinfard
Irene Antonia Diane Reece
Judith Bach
Julia Fullerton-Batten
Julia Keil
Kristin Schnell

Lisa Winner
Luke Johnson
Marta Navarro-Cabane
Marivan Martins
Mia Battimelli
Michael Joseph
Michaela Nagyidaiová
Miro Kuzmanovic
Nadja Ellinger
Orlando Gili
Ornella Mazzola
Oskar Alvarado
Ruben Salgado
Sarah Douglas
Susan Richman
Tales Yuan
Tanya Sharapova
Thomas Whitworth
Tom Atwood
Tria Giovan
William Mark Sommer
Yasmine Hatimi
Yushi Li

Winners — Series Category

Diane Meyer

© Diane Meyer

Part of a series of 43 hand-sewn photographs taken along the entire circumference of the former Berlin Wall, the images in Diane Meyer’s Berlin have been obscured by cross-stitch embroidery applied directly into the photographs. The stitching is made to resemble pixels, transposing the visual language of digital photography into an analog, tactile process. In some of the images, the embroidery mirrors the exact scale and location of the former wall, providing a lingering trace of something that no longer exists physically but is a weight on (sometimes living) memory.

“I am interested in the porous nature of memory as well as the means by which photography transforms history into nostalgic objects that obscure objective understandings of the past,” says Meyer. “By visually referencing pixels, a connection is being made between forgetting and file corruption.”


Some Kind of Heavenly Fire
Maria Lax
Maria Lax-WEB.tif

© Maria Lax

Maria Lax's Some Kind of Heavenly Fire was born when she uncovered her grandfather’s chronicling of a series of UFO sightings in her native Finnish neighbourhood in the 1960s — a time of great socio-economic strife for Northern Finland. “It wasn’t until I read my grandfather’s book that I learned of the incredible stories of supernatural events, bravery and struggle against hardship in what is largely a barren land,” she remarks.

Some Kind of Heavenly Fire – a delicate and dynamic amalgamation of photography, family archive and newspaper cuttings – explores how the supernatural anomalies became a conduit for the anxieties of the era.


Winners — Single Images Category

Ruben Salgado

© Ruben Salgado

Responding to the theme Then & Now, the OpenWalls Arles 2021 single image winners ruminate on the intersections of family, historical memory and the changes brought about by time. 


Ruben Salgado, for instance, shows a young man as he helps his blind brother swim on the shores of Elmina, Ghana; the first European settlement in West Africa and a major stop on the trans-Atlantic slave route. Ornella Mazzola captures the intimacy and hidden language between women of different generations in her Sicilian family, while Ada Trillo photographs the border built from barbed panels between the United States and Mexico. 


Other winners include Tria Giovan, Tanya Sharapova, Aria Shahrokhshahi and more. 


Winners — Moving Image

Samba de Lamento
Cecilia Sordi Campos
Cecilia Sordi Campos.png

© Cecilia Sordi Campos

Samba de Lamento is part of a broader project by the artist titled Tem Bigato Nessa Goiaba. Made as a means for Campos to understand the parallels between her migration from Brazil to Australia and her separation from her partner of ten years, the film explores the layers that constitute her hybrid identity.



4 July - 26 September
Galerie Huit Arles, 8 Rue de la Calade, 13200 Arles, France

For opening times please visit:

Note to Editors

About OpenWalls Arles:

OpenWalls Arles is an international award, in collaboration with Galerie Huit Arles, aimed at creating opportunities for emerging and established photographers. Through this collaboration, we are able to open up the walls of Galerie Huit Arles to offer the selected artists a wider platform to exhibit their work.

With OpenWalls Arles 2021, we give photographers the chance to exhibit their work in a 12-week group show, located in the city’s cultural heart.

About 1854 Media & British Journal of Photography:


1854 Media is an award-winning digital media organisation with a global audience of photographers, arts lovers and industry experts.

At 1854’s core is British Journal of Photography, the world’s longest running photography title, which has been showcasing pioneers of the art form since 1854. It manifests in a monthly publication that takes an international perspective on contemporary photography, focusing on fine art and documentary, and the cutting edge of editorial and commercial practices. It has also created internationally renowned photography awards – including OpenWalls, Portrait of BritainTM, Female in Focus, BJP International Photography Award, Decade of Change and Portrait of HumanityTM all of which aim to discover and promote new talent.

Our visual content agency, Studio 1854, helps brands use the power of photography and video to cultivate and engage larger audiences, by leveraging our relationships with the world’s top photographic influencers and our understanding of the visual content that engages them.

About Galerie Huit Arles:

Located in the centre of Arles, Galerie Huit Arles has gained international attention for its combination of classic architectural styling, and the latest in contemporary art and photography. Its atmospheric, salon-style approach to exhibitions is the committed work of author, curator and heritage conservationist, Julia de Bierre, who founded the gallery in 2007.

In the decade since its inception, Galerie Huit Arles has grown into a leading photographic force within Arles, attracting emerging and established names from across the globe to its remarkable 17th century setting.



Héloise Winstone -
Awards Production Manager, Co-curator OpenWalls Arles 2021


Julia de

Gallerist in Arles, co-curator OpenWallsArles2021

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