‘She’ by Rania Matar at The Huntsville Museum of Art

Rania Matar (Lebanese American, b. 1964), Lea, Bechara Al-Khoury Palace, Beirut, Lebanon, 2019, 19.25 x 24 in. Image courtesy of the artist.

The Huntsville Museum of Art hosts photographer Rania Matar for a lecture and reception marking the inauguration of her exhibition, “Rania Matar: SHE,” sponsored by the United Community Bank Foundation.

In her talk, Rania Matar will delve into the theme “From the Individual to the Collective: The Photography of Rania Matar.” Her body of work reflects her diverse cultural background and cross-cultural experiences as a Lebanese-American artist and mother. Matar’s photography delves into questions of individual and collective identity, frequently spotlighting girls and women in both the United States and the Middle East. Collaborating closely with her subjects, she crafts intimate portraits that emphasise our shared humanity and transcend apparent differences.

Rania Matar (Lebanese American, b. 1964), Alasia, Gambier, Ohio 2018, 19.25 x 24 in. Image courtesy of the artist.

Rania Matar expressed her excitement, saying, “I am thrilled to be exhibiting this series as a whole for the first time. This work is very personal to me, and I look forward to seeing it hanging in a museum. I am so grateful to the Huntsville Museum for exhibiting this work and giving it a home in Alabama for a few months.”

Born and raised in Lebanon, Matar relocated to the U.S. during the Lebanese Civil War. Her talent earned her a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2018 and a Leica Women Foto Award in 2022. Her work has garnered international acclaim, with publications and exhibitions worldwide, and it graces the collections of museums and private collectors across the globe. She has authored four books: “SHE,” “L’Enfant- Femme,” “A Girl and Her Room,” and “Ordinary Lives.”

Christopher J. Madkour, Executive Director of HMA, praised the impact of “Rania Matar: SHE,” saying, “Rania Matar: SHE captures the innermost essence of personal portraits that inspires and empowers. The Huntsville Museum of Art is honoured to present Rania Matar’s award-winning photography reflecting women in time and place. The Museum is grateful for the continuous, generous support of the United Community Bank Foundation.”

“SHE” showcases more than 50 large-scale colour portraits of women in their twenties—the same age as Matar’s own daughters—as they step out of the familial cocoon and into womanhood. Matar’s earlier projects centred on young women within the controlled space of their bedrooms, but here she captures them in the broader world they navigate after leaving home—a global and complex backdrop that defines their transitional phase.

Rania Matar (Lebanese American, b. 1964), Alae (in the Mirror), Beirut, Lebanon, 2020, 19.25 x 24 in. Image courtesy of the artist.

About Rania Matar

Rania Matar, a Lebanese-born American artist and mother, relocated to the U.S. in 1984, bringing her multifaceted cultural background and personal journey into her photography. Her artistic mission centres on examining personal and collective identities, particularly in the context of female adolescence and womanhood, transcending geographical boundaries by working both in the United States and the Middle East. Her impactful work has graced the walls of esteemed institutions worldwide, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Carnegie Museum of Art, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Notable awards include the 2022 Leica Women Foto Project Award and the 2018 Guggenheim Fellowship, among others. Matar’s art is featured in numerous permanent collections and continues to inspire with its narrative.

Location: The Huntsville Museum of Art, Alabama, USA

Dates: August 19 to November 26

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