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. As a Lebanese-born American woman and mother, Matar's cultural background, cross-cultural experience, and personal narrative inform her photography. She has dedicated her work to exploring issues of personal and collective identity, through photographs of female adolescence and womanhood – both in the United States where she lives and the Middle East where she is from, in an effort to focus on notions of identity and individuality all within the context of the underlying universality of these experiences.
Matar's work has been widely published and exhibited in museums worldwide, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Carnegie Museum of Art, National Museum of Women in the Arts, and more. A mid-career retrospective of her work was recently on view at the Cleveland Museum of Art, and at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, in a solo exhibition: In Her Image: Photographs by Rania Matar.
She has received several grants and awards including a 2018 Guggenheim Fellowship, 2017 Mellon Foundation artist-in-residency grant at the Gund Gallery at Kenyon College, 2011 Legacy Award at the Griffin Museum of Photography, 2011 and 2007 Massachusetts Cultural Council artist fellowships. In 2008 she was a finalist for the Foster Award at the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, with an accompanying solo exhibition.
Her work is in the permanent collections of several museums, institutions and private collections worldwide.
She 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.
She is currently associate professor of photography at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, and regularly offers workshops, talks, class visits and lectures at museums, galleries, schools and colleges in the US and abroad.
Select Recent Honors, Grants and Awards
- CENTER 2019 Editor's Choice Award 1st Place Recipient, selected by MaryAnne Golon, Director of Photography, The Washington Post
- Semifinalist for the 2019 Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition, National Gallery of Art, Washington DC
- Nomination Infinity Award 2019, International Center for Photography
- John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in Photography, 2018
- Mellon Foundation Artist-in-Residence Grant, The Gund Gallery at Kenyon College, Spring 2017
- Selected by ArtNet one of 10 Remarkable Photographers to Discover at This Year's AIPAD Fair (2017)
- Nomination to the Yield Purchase Award at the Snite Museum of Art, 2017
- Nomination to Anonymous Was a Woman Award (AWAW), 2017, 2013, 2010
- Unspoken Conversations: Mothers and Daughters, Lens Culture Portrait Award finalist 2015
- Nomination for the St. Botolph Foundation Distinguished Artist Award, 2015
- Top 50 winner, Critical Mass, Photolucida 2015 (2010, 2009, 2008, 2007)
- The George Gund Foundation Annual Report 2011 Commission Award
- Legacy Award 2011, Griffin Museum of Photography, awarded by Debra Klomp, Klompching Gallery NY
- Recipient of the Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship Award 2011 and 2007
- First Prize "Off the Wall" 2011, Danforth Museum of Art, by Susan Stoops, Worcester Art Museum
- Runner-Up: L'Enfant-Femme, Silver Eye Center for Photography Fellowship Competition 2012, Juror's Commendation Award, Juror: Ms. Julie Saul, Julie Saul Gallery NY
- 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)
- Winner Honorable Mention UNICEF Photo of the Year Award 2010, A Girl and her Room
- People's Choice Award A Girl and her Room, for finest photography in New England in 2010, New England Journal of Aesthetic Research
- Winner Second Place, Prix de la Photographie Paris for Aftermath, 2010
- Winner Third Place, Art of the Lebanese Diaspora Award, Beirut 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
- Finalist for the James and Audrey Foster Award, Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, 2009
- Honorable Mention, Santa Fe Center for Photography, Singular Image, 2009 (and 2006)
- Top 100 Distinguished Women Photographers, Women in Photography International, 2008
- Middle East Award Prize, Al Thani Photography Competition 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
- Nomination to the Henri Cartier Bresson Award, 2007
photo by Dominic Chavez
- Museum of Fine Arts, Boston MA
- Museum of Fine Arts, Houston TX
- The Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth TX
- The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland OH
- Danforth Museum of Art, Framingham MA
- Davis Museum at Wellesley College, Wellesley MA
- DeCordova Museum & Sculpture Park, Lincoln MA
- Eskenazi Museum of Art, Bloomington IN
- Fitchburg Art Museum, Fitchburg MA
- The Gund Gallery at Kenyon College, Gambier OH
- The Harn Museum of Art, Gainesville FL
- Kresge Art Museum, Lansing MI
- Lehmbruck Museum, Duisburg Germany
- Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Los Angeles CA
- Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis MN
- MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge MA
- National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington DC
- The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City MO
- Newport Art Museum, Newport RI
- Portland Art Museum, Portland OR
- The Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL
- Saradar Collection, Beirut Lebanon
- Southeast Museum of Photography, Daytona Beach FL
- Worcester Museum of Art, Worcester MA
- The A.M. Qattan Foundation Collection
- "The Art of War" Collection by Ms. Anne Wilkes Tucker
- The George Gund Foundation Collection
- The Girls' Club Collection, Ft Lauderdale FL
- Fidelity Investments, Boston MA
- The Levant Foundation, Houston TX
- Tufts University Permanent Art Collection, Medford MA
- The Al Thani Private Collection, Qatar
- The Samawi Private Collection, Dubai
- Numerous private collections, including the Terrana Collection, Lucille and Richard Spagnuolo Collection, The Nancy and Rodney Gould Collection, John Cleary Estate, the Emir of Kuwait Collection, and more.