|About Invisible Children
Lately we have been hearing on the news about the plights of the Syrian refugees and the huge refugee influx to neighboring countries. However, not many people take the time to look at each of them as a person, an individual with an identity. When I was in Beirut in 2014, I was poignantly struck by the Syrian refugee children and teens standing at every other street corner begging for money, selling red roses or miscellaneous trinkets, or carrying beat-up shoe-shining equipment. They all said they were “working” and were being brought by the truckload every morning and expected to bring money back at the end of each day. People often walked or drove by them seemingly indifferent or just fed-up by what the influx of refugees has done to the country’s economy and resources. As a mother, I was truly moved by the children and troubled by the fact that they had become almost faceless and invisible to the locals. These kids and teens seemed to blend with the graffiti on the walls in front of which they were standing. They are sadly only perceived by people and on the news as “the refugees”. The group identity seemed to define them more than their individual identity. I tried through my images to put an individual face to the invisible children, to give them their dignity and portray their individuality. - Rania Matar
About the Artist
Rania Matar was born and raised in Lebanon. She moved to the U.S. in 1984 to study architecture at Cornell University and later photography at New England School of Photography and Maine Photographic Workshops. Matar currently works full time on her personal photography projects and teaches at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Her images are in the permanent collections worldwide including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Portland Art Museum, Portland OR, Worcester deCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, Lincoln MA among others.