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Rania Matar: Behind the Wall (Bethlehem, 2009)

Artist Statement: In the past year, I became interested in focusing my work outside the boundaries of Lebanon. In the summer of 2009, I took my first trip to Jerusalem, the West Bank, and to some Arab areas within Israel, with the intention of keeping my focus on people and their daily lives. I was welcomed into people’s homes and lives, and I found the same spirit, resilience and dignity that I had experienced in Lebanon, in the aftermath of war and in the refugee camps where I had previously photographed.

These images are not meant to be political. They intend to focus on the universality of just being human no matter what the circumstances are, of being a mother, a father, a child, or a young woman no matter what background or religion one belongs to. Kids play in the alleys of their refugee camp oblivious to their surrounding conditions; men gather around for a cup of coffee; boys get their monthly haircuts and… life just goes on.