Fri 10/26-Sun 1/13
Photographer Rania Matar, who is 54, has lived in the U.S. since she was 20. Prior to that, the Lebanese-Palestinian-American artist lived in Beirut, Lebanon, where she was born and raised.
Her cross-cultural background gives her diverse vantage points to look at the subject that interests her the most: girls and young women, whose lives and roles in society have never attracted more attention than now when they are under assault. In her lush but intimate portraits, she likes to focus on what these young women have in common rather than superficial ethnic and cultural differences. In them a Middle Eastern teen in a hajib relaxing in her bedroom will often adopt the same poses and expressions as an all-American teen.
Her bio says, “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.”
She was recently named a Guggenheim fellow and was a Mellon Foundation artist-in-residence at Kenyon College’s Gund Gallery last year.
Clevelanders will have a chance to see her work when 42 of her large-scale color images, taken between 2009 and 2016, go on view at the Transformer Station. They include her series of teens in their bedrooms, another of girls on the verge of puberty whom she re-photographed three years later, and Unspoken Conversations, juxtaposing photos of teenager girls and their mothers.
It’s free and open to the public. It runs through Sun 1/13.