(Photo: Rania Matar, Christilla, Rabieh Lebanon, 2010, From the series “A Girl and Her Room,” Archival pigment prints, Courtesy of the artist and Robert Klein Gallery.)

The Newport Art Museum has announced that they will welcome the public to join them for a Gallery Talk with exhibiting artist Rania Matar on Sunday, June 24 at 2 pm. Matar will speak on her exhibition “A Girl and Her Room” currently on view in the Wright and Griswold Corridor Galleries through August 5, in the context of her numerous award-winning projects.

“A Girl in Her Room” is one of several important bodies of work by Matar that trace the development of female identity through portraiture. Depicting transitional moments of life, from young girlhood to middle age, Matar’s works address personal and collective identity through photographs mining female adolescence and womanhood. Photographing girls and women in both the United States and the Middle East, the artist shows how the forces that shape female identity transcend cultural and geographic boundaries.

Join artist Rania Matar as she discusses how, as a Lebanese-born American woman, she has dedicated her artistic practice to exploring both sides of her cultural background, cross-cultural experience, and personal narrative through photographing girls and women both in the United States, where she lives, and in the Middle East, where she is from. Focusing on both cultures is especially important to her because of the current political climate, where the “them vs. us” rhetoric is so prevalent. Throughout her work, and by making intimate portraits of girls and women, she seeks to focus on our essence, our physicality, and on the commonalities that make us human, to emphasize underlying similarities rather than apparent differences.

Admission to this event is free for Museum members and free with admission for non-members. General admission to the Museum is $15 for adults, $10 for seniors ages 65+, $8 for college students and active military and free for youth up to age 18. Visit newportartmuseum.org or call (401) 848-8200 for details. The Newport Art Museum is located at 76 Bellevue Avenue, Newport, RI.

About “A Girl and Her Room”

For her acclaimed series, “A Girl and Her Room,” Rania Matar photographed teenage girls, in their bedrooms, from two seemingly disparate worlds: the United States and the Middle East. These two worlds are ones familiar to Matar, who was born in Lebanon and moved to the United States where she now lives and works. In these portraits, the bedrooms become an extension of the girls’ personalities. With each photograph, Matar offers an intimate glimpse into each girl’s life, perspective, and identity. In the words of the artist: “I became fascinated with the similar issues girls at that age face, regardless of culture, religion and background, as they learn to deal with all the pressures that arise as they become conscious and aware of the surrounding world wherever this may be.” This exhibition was made possible by the generous support of Karl and Teryn Weintz.

About Rania Matar

Born and raised in Lebanon, Rania Matar moved to the United States in 1984. Initially 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 Maine Photographic Workshops. Matar began 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 has won many awards, including a 2018 Guggenheim Fellowship for her ongoing series “SHE.” Matar has widely exhibited her photographs nationally and internationally. She currently has a large solo exhibition, entitled “In Her Image: Photographs By Rania Matar,” at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth, TX. She has work in numerous permanent collections at museums around the country and has published three books. The series “A Girl and Her Room” became the subject of Matar’s second book, published with the same title by Umbrage Editions. Matar lives and works in Massachusetts, where she also teaches at Massachusetts College of Art in Boston.

For more information, visit www.newportartmusuem.org.

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