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 photography at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and regularly offers talks, class visits and lectures at museums, galleries, schools and colleges in the US and abroad. This coming fall she will be teaching a Personal Documentary Class at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, a Portraiture workshop at the Photographic Resource Center and will participate in a lecture and a panel at the Museum of Fine Art, Boston on September 29, coinciding with She Would Tells a Story exhibition.
Matar's work focuses mainly on girls and women. Earlier projects recorded the lives of women and children in the Middle East, and over the past three years she has completed A Girl and Her Room and started a new project L'Enfant-Femme. 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 worldwide.
Her first book titled Ordinary Lives was released October 2009, published by the Quantuck Lane Press and distributed by W.W. Norton. Rania's latest monograph, A Girl and Her Room, published by Umbrage Editions was released in May 2012.
Select Recent Honors, Grants and Awards
- Recipient of the Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship Award 2007, 2011
- The Legacy Award 2011, Griffin Museum of Photography, awarded by Ms. Debra Klomp, Klompching Gallery NY
- First Prize "Off the Wall", Danforth Museum of Art, awarded by Ms. Susan L. Stoops, curator of Contemporary Art, Worcester Art Museum 2011
- Finalist, The European Publishers Award for Photography 2011, juried by 5 European publishers: Actes Sud (France), Apeiron (Greece), Dewi Lewis Publishing (Great Britain), Kehrer Verlag (Germany) and Peliti Associati (Italy)
- Honorable Mention: Exposure Awards 2009, 2010
- Honorable Mention UNICEF Photo of the Year Award 2010 "A Girl and her Room"
- COLOR Magazine Portfolio Spotlight Award 2010
- People's Choice Award "A Girl and her Room" for finest photography in New England in 2010, New England Journal of Aesthetic Research
- Top 50 Winner, Critical Mass, Photolucida 2010 (2009, 2008, 2007)
- Winner 2nd Place for Px3 - Prix de la Photographie Paris for the Aftermath, 2010
- Art of the Lebanese Diaspora Award, 3rd place winner, organized by Notre Dame University, Lebanon 2010
- Honorable Mention: CENTER Project Competition Award, 2010 "A Girl and her Room"
- Honorable Mention: CENTER Curator's Choice Award, 2010 "A Girl and her Room"
- Winner First Place: Best Photo Essay the 2009 Ippies Award: "Refugees: Aftermath of War in Lebanon" published in Nueva Luz #13, by the New York Community Media Alliance
- Finalist for the James and Audrey Foster Award 2008, Institute of Contemporary Art Boston
- Honorable Mention, Santa Fe Center for Photography, Singular Image, 2009 (and 2006)
- Selected a Top 100 Distinguished Women Photographers, Women in Photography International, 2008
- First Place, Women in Photography International, 2007
- First and Purchase Prize: Danforth Museum of Art, New England Photographers Biennial, 2007
- Finalist "Women to Watch 2007", Massachusetts Chapter National Museum of Women in the Arts
- Invitation to Moving Walls International, Open Society Institute, Soros Foundation, 2007
photo by Dominic Chavez
- Carroll and Sons Gallery, Boston MA
- Galerie Janine Rubeiz, Beirut Lebanon
- East Wing Contemporary, Qatar
- Sana Gallery, Singapore and Southeast Asia
To purchase prints or to inquire about pricing and availability, click here for gallery contact information.
- Museum of Fine Arts, Boston MA
- Museum of Fine Arts, Houston TX
- Lehmbruck Museum, Duisburg Germany
- Worcester Museum of Art, Worcester MA
- Davis Museum at Wellesley College, Wellesley MA
- Portland Art Museum, Portland OR
- DeCordova Museum & Sculpture Park, Lincoln MA
- Danforth Museum of Art, Framingham MA
- Kresge Art Museum, Lansing MI
- Southeast Museum of Photography, Daytona Beach FL
- The Girls' Club Collection, Ft Lauderdale FL
- "The Art of War" Collection by Ms. Anne Wilkes Tucker
- The Al Thani Private Collection, Qatar
- The Samawi Private Collection, Dubai
- Private collections, including the Terrana Collection, the George Gund Foundation Collection, the A.M. Qattan Foundation Collection, Lucille and Richard Spagnuolo Collection, John Cleary Estate, the Emir of Kuwait Collection, Thomas Kellner Private Collection Germany