About Rania Matar

About

Artist Biography

Guggenheim Fellowship 2018

Rania has been named a Guggenheim Fellow for 2018. On April 4, 2018, the Board of Trustees of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation approved the awarding of 173 Guggenheim Fellowships to a diverse group of scholars, artists, and scientists. Appointed on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise, the successful candidates were chosen from a group of almost 3,000 applicants in the Foundation's ninety-fourth competition.

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 Palestinian refugee camps with the assistance of non-governmental organizations. She now teaches Personal Documentary Photography, and Portrait and Identity 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. In the winter/spring of 2017, she was an artist-in-residence at the Gund Gallery at Kenyon College, through a Mellon Foundation Grant.

Matar's work focuses on girls and women. As a Lebanese-born American woman and mother, her cultural background, cross-cultural experience, and personal narrative informs her photography. She has dedicated her work to exploring both sides of this identity: addressing issues of personal and collective identity, through photographs mining female adolescence and womanhood – both in the United States where she lives and the Middle East where she is from. 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.

Matar has published three books:

  • L'Enfant-Femme, 2016, with an introduction by Her Majesty Queen Noor, and essays by Lois Lowry and Kristen Gresh. Selected best photo book of 2016 by PDN Magazine and Foto Infinitum, and Staff Pick by the Christian Science Monitor.
  • A Girl and Her Room, 2012, essays by Anne Tucker and Susan Minot. Selected best photo book of 2012 by PDN, Photo-Eye, British Journal of Photography, Feature Shoot and L'Oeil de la Photographie.
  • Ordinary Lives, 2009, essay by Anthony Shadid. Selected a best photo book of 2009 by Photo-Eye.

Select Recent Honors, Grants and Awards

Rania Matar

photo by Dominic Chavez

Collections