A Girl and Her Room: Portraits of Girls From Beirut Refugee Camps to the Boston Suburbs

I remember being 13 years old and fully dedicated to covering every inch of my bedroom in collages. I plastered the wall with Got Milk? ads and movie posters that I bought at the CD store near school. I spent hours carefully writing my favorite song lyrics on the inside of my closet. My room was my form of expression, and when I went to friends' houses their rooms were expressions of them in the very same way. In her new project, A Girl and Her Room, photographer Rania Matar has beautifully captured this adolescent sentiment and the importance of a girl's room as she makes her way into adulthood.

Matar's photographs depict girls in their bedrooms, providing a full demonstration of how these private spaces can become an extension of the girls' selves. Matar writes of the work, “As a mother of teenage daughters I watch their passage from girlhood into adulthood, fascinated with the transformation taking place, the adult personality taking shape and a gradual self-consciousness replacing the carefree world they had known and lived in so far.”

The photographs focus on girls from different backgrounds; most notably the United States and Lebanon -- where Matar grew up. Many of the girls in Lebanon are photographed at their rooms in refugee camps. Matar says "I became fascinated with the similar issues girls at that age face, regardless of culture, religion, and background, as they learn to deal with all the pressures that arise they become consciously aware of the surrounding world, wherever this may be." 

The beauty of the work speaks for itself, demostrating how regardless of nation or nationality, girls will find a way to be themselves. "I was discovering a person on the cusp of becoming an adult, but desperately holding on to the child she barely outgrew, a person on the edge between two worlds…" 

View a sample of Matar's work from A Girl and Her Room below.


Susan, Shatila Refugee Camp, Beirut 2010 

Sidonie, Belmont MA 2010


Stephanie, Beirut Lebanon 2010
 


Ai, Boston MA, 2010


Hiba, Shatila Refugee Camp, Beirut 2010


Siena, Brookline MA 2009


Zahra, Beirut Lebanon 2010


Ellice, Jamaica Plain MA 2010


Elham, Shatila Refugee Camp, Beirut


Maddie-Chloe, Cornwall NY 2010


Rocio, Dorcester MA 2010


Maryam, Bourj Al Shamali Refugee Camp, Southern Lebanon 2009


Andrea, Beirut Lebanon 2009

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Elena Sheppard

Elena is the Arts & Entertainment Editor at Mic. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Salon, Time Out New York, The New York Times Upfront, ABC News, and various travel publications. She is also a Princeton alum, a former Thailand resident, and a Brooklyn native.

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