Through photography, Rania Matar could see that her experience growing up as a woman was very similar to that of her daughters, despite their generational and cultural differences. She grew up in Lebanon during a civil war; she was raising her children in the United States. “People are people,” she told In Sight. Whether in Massachusetts or the Middle East, women go through similar milestones in life. They have mothers, they transition from being children to young women and perhaps then become mothers themselves.
Joy Kim — curator of the upcoming exhibition, “In Her Image: Photographs by Rania Matar,” at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth — wrote in the prospectus, “Whether wearing a hijab in a Palestinian refugee camp or a bikini top in Boston, the women that Matar photographs share traits common to young women regardless of background. Matar emphasizes similarities rather than differences, highlighting how female subjectivity develops in parallel form across cultural lines.”
Matar’s own mother died when she was 3, so her daughters were her entrance into the mother-daughter relationship. In her photographs, she explores the future she was denied. She says she was fascinated to see how the relationships evolved over time, how mothers and daughters eventually became friends.
Matar’s series “Unspoken Conversations,” which is included in the four bodies of work represented in the exhibition, juxtaposes mothers and daughters across cultures and stages in life.
Of the series, Kim wrote that it makes visual the “pressures of aging that mark both sides of a woman’s life as she enters and exits her years of reproductive fertility, poignantly capturing both the pleasures and uncomfortable realities of growing up and growing old.”
“In Her Image: Photographs by Rania Matar” will be on display at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth, from Dec. 23 through June 17.
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