Rania Matar

Womanhood: From Personal to Universal / Photographs by Rania Matar

As a Lebanese-born American woman and mother, Matar has dedicated her artistic practice to exploring both sides of her cultural background, cross-cultural experience, and personal narrative, in addressing issues of personal and collective identity, through photographing girls and women both in the United States where she lives and in the Middle East where she is from. Focusing on both cultures is especially important to her in the current political climate we live in, where the  ‘them vs. us’ rhetoric is so prevalent.
Throughout her work, and by making intimate portraits of girls and women, she seeks to focus on our essence, our physicality and on the commonalities that make us human, to emphasize underlying similarities rather than apparent differences. In addition she will talk about her experiences living through wars and her immediate interaction with Syrian and Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. While her photographs may not provide answers or solutions, they can act as moments of contemplation in finding beauty in our shared humanity.

Rania Matar

Photographer, Massachusetts College of Art & Design

Rania Matar was born and raised in Lebanon and moved to the U.S. in 1984. Originally trained as an architect at the American University of Beirut and at Cornell University, she studied photography at the New England School of Photography and the Maine Photographic Workshops. Matar started teaching photography in 2009 and offered summer photography workshops to teenage girls in Lebanon's refugee camps with the assistance of non-governmental organizations. She now teaches 'Personal Documentary Photography' and 'Portrait and Identity' classes at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and regularly offers talks, class visits and lectures at museums, galleries, schools and colleges in the U.S. and abroad. In the spring and fall of 2017, she was the artist-in-residence at The Gund Gallery at Kenyon College.

Her work has won several awards, has been featured in numerous publications, and exhibited widely in the U.S. and internationally. Her images are in the permanent collections of several museums and private collections worldwide. A mid-career retrospective of Matar’s work will be exhibited at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, in a solo exhibition titled "In Her Image", December 2017 – June, 2018. She has published three books: L’Enfant-Femme, 2016; A Girl and Her Room, 2012; Ordinary Lives, 2009.