Maria Elena Bonet

Visual artist / Filmmaker / Poetess


Born in Belarus, 1986

Based in Poland ⇄ Italy


The key theme for Maria Elena Bonet is the state of transition and union of times. Maria addresses current events and places them in a very personal and universal historical context. The artist enhances the effect simultaneously using historical photographic techniques and contemporary media in the interpretation of the phenomena around her.


Over the last few years, Maria Elena Bonet has been exploring the ideas of national identity and its destruction. Taking into account the history of her family, land, and experience, the artist seeks the sources of strength that can help survive in a violent environment. While often metaphorical and poetic, her work is based on actual events. The project My River, resulting from Bonet’s spiritual and creative explorations, brings together themes of ancestral and national memory, common and personal wounds, and ways of healing. With her latest work Betrothal to the Sea Maria works on metaphorical reading and expression of the theme of freedom. While in My River the author speaks of the indestructible free spirit as a given for every human being, Betrothal to the Sea is an attempt to acquire this state of freedom. Thus Betrothal to the Sea, deeply rooted in the previous project, is its natural continuation and completion, like a river flowing into the sea.


Maria Elena studied design and photography at the Belarusian State Art Academy that she graduated from in 2009. Since 2007, inspired and educated in the studio of Albert Tsehanovich and later of Andrei Voskresenski, she has been focusing on analogue photography and gelatin silver process, and has been creating artworks using alternative photographic processes, such as gum bichromate, tin process, and cyanotype. These techniques have become the artist’s unique tool for formulating her own poetic language in photography. The labour-intensive and slow processes help her reveal the essence of the objects in the surrounding reality. Maria has created more than 10 art projects and exhibited repeatedly in Europe. Since 2017, Bonet has been leading the author’s master classes on manual photography.


In 2018, Maria started making video. This practice evolved into multimedia projects encompassing photography, video, sound, and light. Since 2019, Maria Elena Bonet has been represented by art galleries in France and Spain: La Galerie Rouge, Paris (2019–2022), Galería F&deO, Madrid (since 2021). In 2021, she was awarded the Gaude Polonia scholarship and moved to Poland, where she created the Betrothal to the Sea project. In 2023, in a one-year K. Kalinowski Scholarship Program at the University of Warsaw, Bonet completed her theoretical research on contemporary manual photography.



2021 the Source series, Month of Photography, Grenoble, France, 1st place winner

2021 video My River, short film competition, Valdarno Cinema Film Festival,  Cinema Masaccio di San Giovanni, Valdarno, Italy

2020 My River project nominated for the National Fine Arts Award: Art Photography, Minsk, Belarus. Maria Bonet withdrew the project from the competition in solidarity with a censored artist and the victims of state violence in Belarus

2020 1st place winner of the National Competition Art of the Book, design of the book Savva Sivko by N. Savchenko, Minsk

2017 Maria's artwork is included in the top 100 original photographs of the 19th–21st centuries, from the 2002-2017 collection of the State Museum and Exhibition Center ROSPHOTO in St. Petersburg. 

2009  2nd place winner of the republican project Minsk Pictures: Private Life,  NOVA Gallery, Minsk


Laureate of scholarships:

2023 Artistic Scholarship of Villa Decius Institute for Culture, Poland

2022 Cultural Scholarship of the City of Gdansk, Poland; the Marshal of the Pomeranian Voivodeship for artistic projects, Poland; K. Kalinowski Scholarship Program, Poland

2021 Gaude Polonia,  the programme of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, Poland



Solo exhibitions:

Betrothal to the Sea

2023  Instytut Kultury Willa Decjusza / Krakow, Poland


My River

2023  Młyny Rothera / Bydgoszcz, Poland 

2022  Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art / Warsaw, Poland

2022  Instytut Kultury Willa Decjusza / Krakow, Poland

2020  ZAl#2, Palace of Art / Minsk, Belarus  



2021  La Chapelle de Rosaire, le festival Promenade Photographique de Yenne / France

2012  National Historical Museum / Minsk, Belarus 


There is nothing that could not be a cloud 

2019  ROOMS / Minsk, Belarus  



2017  Gallery "Art-Belarus" / Minsk, Belarus 


Night and Day

2015  Museum of Contemporary Art / Minsk, Belarus 

The main collective exhibitions:


•  Gdansk Biennale of Art, Gdansk City Gallery / Gdansk, 2023 

•  Video projection of the My River project within OKO orchestra performance – SPRAVA Festival, White Church / Belarus, 2021

•  Le Mois de la Photo – Ancien musée de Peinture / Grenoble, 2021

    Long list in 2020

•  Promenade Photographique de Yenne – la Chapelle de Rosaire / Yenne, 2021

•  Photo-Art Festival MOST-21 – Palace of Arts / Minsk, 2021

•  Hostages – New Belarus Art project – St. Petri Kirche / Hamburg, 2020

•  Correspondances – La Galerie Rouge / Paris, 2020

•  International Art festival Art-Minsk – Palace of Arts / Minsk, 2018, 2019, 2020

•  Libros-objeto/Cajas de autor – Desvan Blanco space gallery / Santa Cruz de Tenerife, 2019

•  Autumn salon with Belgazprombank – Palace of Arts / Minsk, 2019 – 2016

•  La Passeggiata – Galerie Agathe Galliard / Paris, 2019

•  Lyubchansky region. People and time – The National Historical Museum / Minsk, 2019

•  Today and tomorrow. Young artist from Belarus – Arka gallery / Vilnius, 2018

•  ROSPHOTO’s 15th Anniversary Exhibition – the best original photos, received in the collection from 2002 to 2017 – the State Russian Museum and Exhibition Centre ROSPHOTO / Saint-Petersburg, 2017

•  Open Youth – Palace of Arts / Minsk, 2017

•  Photo project The Odyssey – National Center for Contemporary Arts / Minsk, 2017

•  Photogram and Gum arabic – Mastatski Mayontak / Minsk, 2016

•  International exhibition dedicated to the 155th anniversary of the first color photography Aspiration for color – the State Russian Museum of Photography / Nizhny Novgorod, 2016

•  Project Likht-Art – Gallery of the Belarusian Union of Designers / Minsk, 2015

•  International Festival of Pinhole Photography Playing Classics – Museum of the Belarusian Cinema History / Minsk, 2015

•  Polonaise – Republican exhibition dedicated to the 250th anniversary of Michal Kleofas Oginsky – Palace of Arts /  Minsk, 2015

•  Steps – Gallery” University of Culture” / Minsk, 2015

•  The Minsk School of Photography. 1960’s–2000’s – The State Russian Museum and Exhibition Centre ROSPHOTO /  Saint-Petersburg, 2014

•  International Exhibition Photo Project – Cultural and Exhibition Center The Tenishevs / Smolensk, 2014

•  Photo project Metamorphosis – The National Historical Museum / Minsk, 2012

•  Photomania – International Photographic Biennale / Kaliningrad, 2011

•  Photo project Continuation – Museum of Contemporary Art / Minsk, 2010

•  Minsk Pictures: Private Life – NOVA Gallery / Minsk, 2009



2021 • From the Riverbed series. 2019. Music for the Dead and Resurrected / Musik för de döda och återuppståndna  by Valzhyna Mort / Nirstedt, Stockholm, Sweden

2020 • From the Mistletoe series. 2012. Aquarium / Акварыум by Siarhiej Kalenda, Minsk 
2018 – 2020 • catalog Art-Minsk
2019, 2010 • Bolshoi magazine, Minsk
2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 • catalogues Autumn Salon with Belgazprombank, Minsk
2016 • album-catalogue The local design. Persons and objects, Minsk
2014 • album-catalogue The Minsk School of Photography. 1960’s–2000’s, Saint-Petersburg
2014 • album Metamorphoses, Minsk
2014 • album-catalogue Volga Biennale-2014, Nizhny Novgorod
2010 • album Continuation, Minsk
2009 • album Minsk photos private life, Minsk


Maria's works are in collections of: Villa Decius Cultural Institute, Krakow, Poland; National Center for Contemporary Arts, Minsk;  Art-Belarus Gallery, Minsk, The State Russian Museum and Exhibition Centre ROSPHOTO, Saint-Petersburg; The State Russian Museum of Photography, Nizhny Novgorod and in private collections around the world.