Featured at the Mosaic Room in London until 23 July, the exhibition combines intimate snapshots of teenage girls from Palestine, the US and Lebanon, captured in their safe havens: their rooms.
Rania Matar exhibits A Girl and Her Room to explore and document the transition between childhood and womanhood. Her interest in the subject was sparked by her own daughter’s transformation. Matar’s camera first zoomed in on her growing girl and her friends, deciding later to create compositions that deliberately represent each girl’s personality.
Because Matar’s childhood and early adulthood was split between the US and the Middle East, her choice of subjects reflects the project’s extremely personal angle. She captured snippets of the lives of girls from different cultures, finding that growing up knows no geography. Girls face pressure wherever they are, as their bodies change, their characters develop and their perception of the world around them evolves. In a picture, Matar is able to convey different personalities but related plights.
“In my images I hope to portray the chasm between childhood and adulthood and the young women straddling it, sometimes as rebels, sometimes as young ladies aware of their newfound sexuality and very often still as children,” says Matar. “Being with those young women in the privacy of their world gave me a unique peek into their private lives and their real selves.”
1 July – 23 July 2011
The Mosaic Rooms, 226 Cromwell Road, London
Quotes from photographed girls:
Shannon, 21, Boston
“When I was a teenager, I was a certainly a hell-raiser. It was hard wanting freedom so badly and not being old enough to feel like I could be free. So, I rebelled a lot to make a point to my parents that I wasn't going to let them hold me back from being who I wanted to be. Now they accept who I am because I figured out the balance of being me and not get into so much trouble.”
Shifa’a, 14, Jerusalem
“I live right by the wall and around the soldiers. The political situation is very disturbing. I like it when I am alone because I am always surrounded with people at my home. My father has two wives and between them there are 12 children. In 10 years I hope to become a doctor, be married, have kids and live in Palestine.”
Anna, 18, Winchester (USA)
“My room was always a place independent of the world, geographically and temporally ambiguous, floating separate from the rest of my life and creating an architectural womb where I was most myself.”
Reem, 19, Lebanon
“I'm from Ivory Coast, I'm Lebanese and I study in London. I study womens-wear, I don't know why I'm always ashamed to write it or say it. I love art. It's the most important thing in my life. My dream is to actually give art, teach art, learn art, paint everyday and live by it.”