Left: Rania Matar / Right: iPod, Beirut, 2007 / Courtesy of the Artist and AANM
Through August 31, 2014, the Arab American National Museum (AANM) presents a selection of images from 'Ordinary Lives', in which Matar documents the mundane activities of everyday life amid the ongoing political and social turmoil of post-war Lebanon in black and white photography. The exhibition of 26 images includes a mini-series of color photos entitled 'Remains', which also presents the everyday lives of Lebanese people in contrast to their physical surroundings.
By focusing on what is left behind, Matar brings humanity and personality to images of destruction. The energy and determination of her subjects are dramatically conveyed, serving as a powerful and universal reminder of the tender bond between a mother and child, the cheerful camaraderie of friends and the resilience of the human spirit.
Rania Matar / Juggling, Aita Al Chaab, Lebanon, 2006 / Courtesy of the Artist and AANM
Rania Matar was born and raised in Lebanon and moved to the US 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 US and abroad. Her work has won several awards and exhibited in the US and internationally. Her images are in the permanent collections of several museums worldwide.
Rania Matar / Newspaper, Lebanon, 2006 / Courtesy of the Artist and AANM
Rania Matar / Barbie Girl, Beirut, 2006 / Courtesy of the Artist and AANM
On Tuesday, May 6, 2014, Rania Matar will hold a Skype chat with local middle-school students currently enrolled in the Museum’s award-winning SURA Arts Academy photography program. The Spring 2014 SURA semester is inspired by the 'Ordinary Lives' exhibition: on May 6, students will tour the exhibition and Skype-chat live with the artist, inquiring about her inspirations and sharing with her some of their Ordinary Lives-inspired images.
Then, on Saturday, May 10, Matar will appear in person to greet Museum Members in the AANM’s Lower Level Gallery as part of the Gallery to Gallery members-only event being held in conjunction with the Detroit Institute of Arts.