Rania Matar: Creativity in a Time of Crisis
It seems as if life went on hold those past few weeks – for everyone. I am always straddling two cultures and identities, as a Lebanese/Palestinian and as an American. It feels as if the news is always dividing us as “them v/s us”, and now here we are a “we”: all in this together, in the same boat, with life at a standstill and reduced to the confinement of home. This virus is such an equalizer, making us all re-evaluate our shared humanity, our fragility, and our priorities.
Isolation and confinement offered me the gift of time at home with my family, and in the studio with my work. I had almost forgotten how precious both are. With time and space to re-evaluate what matters, I reached out to my friends and started visiting them and making their portraits through the window. A new project about “connecting across barriers” emerged. It humbled me how many people were willing to be part of this, but also how important the human interaction we often took for granted, is. Despite the fact that we only communicated across a physical barrier, we really and truly made a connection.
When life goes back to normal, I hope we keep that empathy, kindness, interconnectivity alive in us.
Rania's project was featured in the Boston Globe on May 1, 2020.
Rania Matar was born and raised in Lebanon, and moved to the U.S. in 1984. Originally trained as an architect at Cornell University, she currently works full-time on her photography projects and teaches photography at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Rania’s work has been widely published and exhibited in the U.S. and internationally, such as at The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; National Museum for Women in the Arts, Washington DC; Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York; East Wing Gallery, Dubai, UAE; Galerie Janine Rubeiz, Beirut, Lebanon; Galerie Eulenspiegel, Basel, Switzerland; Lehmbruck Museum, Duisburg, Germany; Southeast Museum of Photography, Florida; Sharjah Art Museum, UAE; Amon Carter Museum of Art, Fort Worth, TX and National Portrait Gallery in London. She has won numerous prestigious awards, and her images are in the permanent collections of museums, institutions and private collections worldwide. She has also published several books.