Across Histories Artist Talk Series:
Segregated Spaces — On Progress with Rania Matar
Ordinary Lives, discussion and book signing.
December 16, 2009
Cabinet Magazine Space 300 Nevins Street Brooklyn, New York 11215
Curated by Lauren Pearson, Across Histories is a free monthly series centered on developing an ongoing critical discussion of artistic practices in the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia and their diasporas. Debuted at the Elizabeth Foundation Gallery in Manhattan in September 2008 and now housed at Brooklyn's Cabinet Magazine Space, Across Histories provides a compelling platform for artists, designers, curators and art critics to present and discuss their work, oeuvres, historical moments, theories, writings and exhibitions that have had the most impact on their professional practices.
Photographer Rania Matar's work focuses on the Middle East, in particular women and children in Lebanon, a country said to be "the gate to the Middle East, between the West and the Arab world." In in her first book, Ordinary Lives, Matar who grew up in Lebanon and the United States — an outsider and an insider in both worlds — collects a large body of work pertaining to war, the spread of the veil, Palestinian refugee camps and Christian life in the Middle East.
Rania Matar's Bio:
Born and raised in Lebanon Matar moved to the United States in 1984. She was trained (AUB and Cornell University) and worked as an architect before studying photography at New England School of Photography and Maine Photographic Workshops in Mexico with Magnum photographer Constantine Manos. She currently works full-time as a photographer, and teaches photography to teenage girls in Lebanon's refugee camps and to teenage refugees in Boston.
Matar's work has been published in photography and art magazines and exhibited widely in solo and group exhibitions in the United States and internationally. She has won many awards including an artist grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, first prize in New England Photographers Biennial, first prize in Women in Photography International, and honorable mentions at Prix de la Photographie Paris Px3 “The Human Condition.” In 2008 she was selected one of Top 100 Distinguished Women Photographers by Women in Photography, and was a ﬁnalist for the prestigious Foster award at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston with an accompanying exhibition.
Her images are in the permanent collection of many museums, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Portland Art Museum, Oregon; the De Cordova Museum and Sculpture Park; the Danforth Museum of Art; the Kresge Art Museum; the Southeast Museum of Photography; and of private collections including the Anthony and Beth Terrana Collection, the John Cleary Estate and the Emir of Kuweit Collection.
Her first book, Ordinary Lives is published by the Quantuck Lane Press and WW Norton.