Rania Matar
Rania Matar
Rania Matar
Rania Matar
Rania Matar

The past two years have been extremely difficult in Lebanon: the 2019 uprising protesting corruption and inflation, the COVID-19 pandemic and months of lockdown that proved disastrous for the country, and the August 4, 2020 Port of Beirut explosions which caused further catastrophic damage. The country has been spiraling into the abyss with shortages of cash, gas, electricity, medicine, and water.

During recent trips to Lebanon, I chose not to focus on destruction. Instead, I found hope and inspiration through the younger generation of women. I am in awe of their creativity, strength, beauty, and resilience.

I saw graffiti on the wall that asked: “Where Do I Go? (Lawen Ruh لوين روح)” These women are at that crossroad. Where do they go? I was their age when I left Lebanon in 1984 during the Civil War.

I felt a sense of urgency in collaborating with them and creating the stage together to tell their story — our collective story. They inspire me. This project is for them and for us — the ones who are staying and the ones who have left.

I am deeply honored to have received the Leica Women Foto Project Award that will allow me to continue this work.

Artist Bios

  • Rania Matar

    Rania Matar was born and raised in Lebanon and moved to the U.S. in 1984. As a Lebanese-born American woman and mother, her cross-cultural experience and personal narrative inform her photography.

    Matar’s work has been widely exhibited in museums worldwide in solo and group exhibitions, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Carnegie Museum of Art, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, Fotografiska, and more. Her work is part of the permanent collections of several museums, institutions, and private collections. A mid-career retrospective of her work was on view at the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, and the American University of Beirut Museum.

    Matar received several awards and nominations including: a 2022 Leica Women Foto Project Award, a 2018 Guggenheim Fellowship, a 2017 Mellon Foundation artist-in-residency grant, 2021, 2011, 2007 Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellowships, and a 2011 Griffin Museum of Photography Legacy Award. She is currently a finalist for the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition with an exhibition at the Smithsonian National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. In 2008, she was a finalist for the Foster Award at the ICA/Boston, with an accompanying solo exhibition.

    She has published four books: SHE (2021), L’Enfant-Femme (2016), A Girl and Her Room (2012), and Ordinary Lives (2009).


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    Discover the allure of Leica photography at Photoville through curated photowalks complemented by a Leica on Loan program. From action photography to environmental portraiture, you’ll experience Leica photography and guidance by acclaimed Leica photographers. 

    Leica Camera is founded on a tradition of optical excellence and a conscious focus on the essentials of exquisite image making. For over a century, the brand has motivated visual storytelling through the quintessential union of craftsmanship, design and experience, providing essential tools that influence the art, culture and creation of photography. Photoville attendees can see this firsthand at the Leica Pavilion, which will showcase a one-of-a-kind photographic experience through a variety of interactive Leica activities designed to ignite your passion for photography.

Where Do I Go? (Lawen Ruh لوين روح)

 archive : 2022

Featuring: Rania Matar

Curated by: Laura Roumanos Photoville

Presented by: Leica Women Foto Project
  • Leica Camera


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