Together these five series offer a powerful image of how female identity is shaped not only over time but also across cultures. While Matar is acutely aware of the perceived cultural differences between the two regions of the world in which she photographs—the United States and the Middle East—Matar aims to transcend respective biases through her work, showing what is shared by both while maintaining the particulars of each individual she photographs. 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. Thus, while the actual content of her work is not overtly politicized, Matar’s images nonetheless effect a kind of cultural diplomacy, bridging together two regions of the world that are often perceived as incommensurate. Throughout each of her series, Matar’s goals remain consistent : to create a sense of shared human experience through photography, particularly that of women.
by Joy Kim
Associate curator at the Amon Carter Museum