Rania Matar - Faces from the Middle East
 
A Passage from the Koran, Beirut 2005 The Dead Mother, Beirut 2005 Rocket Hole, Southern Lebanon 2006 Juggling, Aita Southern Lebanon 2006
Barbie Girl, Beirut 2006 Coca Cola, Southern Lebanon 2006 Bath Time, Refugee Camp, Tyre Lebanon 2005 Refugee Girl, Sidon Lebanon 2003
Open Window, Refugee Camp, Tyre Lebanon 2005 Unveiled, Southern Lebanon 2006 Newspapers, Beirut 2007 Hanging Laundry, Southern Lebanon 2006

Rania Matar was born and raised in Lebanon. She has been living in the U.S. in 1984. Originally trained as an architect at Cornell University, Matar studied photography at the New England School of Photography and at the Maine Photographic Workshops in Mexico with Magnum Photographer, Constantine Manos. Currently, she works full-time as a freelance documentary photographer. Matar's work focuses on the Middle East, mainly women and children. Her recent projects examine and record Palestinian refugee life in camps in Lebanon, the increased spread of the veil and its meanings, and the aftermath of war. Matar's goal in her photographs is to give voice to people who have been forgotten or misunderstood. She also photographs the lives of her four children as they progress from stage to stage. Matar has won several awards and has been published and exhibited widely in the U.S. and internationally. She was recently awarded an artist grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and first prize at the New England Photographers Biennial. Currently, her work is exhibited at Gallery Kayafas in Boston and at several Universities and Museums in the United Stated.
 
Black and White Fine Art Documentary Photography in the Middle East.
 
Artist Statement:
 
The focus of my photography is on the Middle East, on women and children especially. Lebanon in particular is interesting to me because of its key location between the West and the Arab world, witnessing a blend of Western and Arab cultures, of Christianity and Islam.
 
The images exhibited are a selection from three interrelated bodies of work: The Aftermath of War a photographic essay of life in Lebanon after the numerous wars the country has gone through, The Veil: Modesty, Fashion, Devotion or Statement studying the recent spread of the veil and its meanings among Muslim women in Lebanon, and The Forgotten People representing life in the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. These images do not have the intention of representing Lebanon as a country, a country with many facets, or to be political in any way, but to primarily focus on people who have been largely forgotten, misrepresented or misunderstood.
 
Throughout my work in Lebanon, be it after the war, in the refugee camps, in the suburbs of Beirut or in Southern Lebanon, I was welcome in people's homes and I was humbled by people's resiliency and hospitality. As such, in these photos I focus mainly on the people who did not lose their humanity, dignity and resiliency despite what they have been and are still going through. I try to portray them in a beautiful and sensitive way in the hope of emphasizing their humanity and avoid obvious images of grief and calamity, preferring to set my focus on the indomitable ability of the human spirit to continue with the minutiae of life - from the joyful to the mundane - even amid the most difficult of circumstance.
 
I work in black and white and develop and print my own work.

 
photo by: Rania Matar - Boston - USA
 
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Veramente belle, le foto rispecchiano la situazzione del paese.... basta leggere negli occhi dei bambini.......
Luciano <minghe_286@hotmail.it>
Volterra (PISA), Italy - 28/01/2008


Ammirazione e auguri di buon lavoro dall'Italia.
Pier Luigi <pierluigibaglioni@yahoo.it>
Genova, Italy - 28/01/2008