This Fall we were thrilled to facilitate the sale of Obscura Gallery artist Rania Matar’s portfolio of 50 prints from A Girl and Her Room to the Library of Congress for their permanent collection!
Focusing on contemporary young women from vastly differing cultures in the United States and Lebanon, Rania Matar’s project and book, A Girl and Her Room, reveals the complex lives of her subjects in the unique setting of the girls’ own rooms. Besides the expected cultural and economic differences and similarities that inevitably are drawn out using such an approach, these portraits of the girls and their bedrooms—reveal a dizzying array of personalities, dreams, hopes, wishes and frustrations in settings that are clearly expressions of the girls’ individual identities. The nuances shown in each room, and in the portrait of each young woman, reveal an acute photographer’s eye for telling detail.
As a Lebanese-born American artist and mother, Rania Matar’s cross-cultural experiences inform her art. 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 in the Middle East where she is from. Matar was born and raised in Lebanon and moved to the U.S. in 1984. She has received several grants and awards including a 2019 CENTER First Place Choice Award, 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. Most recently, in 2022 Rania was awarded the Leica Women Foto Project Award. She has had mid-career retrospectives at the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, and the American University of Beirut Museum. Her work is in the permanent collections of several museums, institutions and private collections worldwide, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.