November 1, 2012 - December 2, 2012
A Girl and Her Room
What began as a personal investigation by Rania Matar to understand her own daughter became a broader investigation of a young girl’s transition through adolescence to womanhood.
In her series, “A Girl and Her Room,” Matar’s portraits of teenage girls from the United States and countries in the Middle East offer an insider’s perspective of not just who these young women are, but also the physical spaces that prove to be extensions of their identities. Matar explains, “As soon as the girl was in her own surrounding, I could almost see the ‘real’ person. She was amongst her stuff, in her comfort zone; she could just be herself and she just fit in there, as if the room was an extension of her and she was an extension of her room.”
“I initially started this work focusing on teenage girls in the United States and eventually expanded the project to include girls from the two worlds I am most familiar with, the two worlds I experienced myself as a teen and a young twenty year old: the United States and the Middle East. This is how this project became very personal to me. I became fascinated with the similar issues girls at that age face, regardless of culture, religion and background, as they learn to deal with all the pressures that arise as they become consciously aware of the surrounding world wherever this may be.”
Rania Matar was born and raised in Lebanon and moved to the US in 1984. She studied photography at the New England School of Photography and the Maine Photographic Workshops. Matar has been featured in numerous publications, and has exhibited widely in the US and internationally. She has won numerous awards, including the Top 100 Distinguished Women Photographers by Women in Photography, and was a finalist for the Foster Award at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston. She teaches photography at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and in refugee camps in Lebanon.