About the Photographer
American, b. 1962
Diana Matar investigates topics of immigration, displacement, and memory using photography and archives. Her artist book, Evidence (2014), is the culmination of a six year-long exploration of the life of her father-in-law, Jaballah, and his disappearance under the Gaddafi regime in Libya. Jaballah was one of many Libyans who went missing during Gaddafi’s rule from 1969 to 2011. During Gaddafi’s reign, he established widespread intolerance for anyone who spoke out against the regime. Those believed guilty of disloyalty disappeared and presumably were imprisoned, tortured, or killed. Many fled the country including Hisham, Jaballah’s son and Matar’s husband, and his family. Despite leaving Libya for Egypt, Jaballah Matar was kidnapped by the Egyptian secret service and taken back to Libya, never to be seen again.
Evidence, an homage to her father-in-law, ultimately reveals the effect of national politics on personal relationships and families. Despite never meeting her father-in-law, Matar is deeply affected by his life and disappearance. Her images, diary entries, and letters portray a family hesitantly grieving a loss not yet confirmed amid endless questions. Matar is both witness and participant in the book, actively searching for answers in her text and images, but also observing a family and a country in the process of coping over time. Using varied photographic styles--abstract to representational-- Matar’s long investigation is made across the globe. Her text mirrors her diverse approach to photographing, shifting between facts and feelings, discoveries and further questions. Evidence (2014) is a complex portrait of a family piecing together one man’s life and disappearance while simultaneously grappling with a history of atrocities and dictatorship in Libya.
Diana Matar completed her MA from the Royal College of Art in London (2008) and her BA in Latin American Studies and Journalism from San Francisco State University, California (1996). Selected solo exhibitions include: Peterborough Museum, Peterborough, U.K. (2006); Fotographie Forum International, Frankfurt, Germany (2006); Ghandi Museum, London, U.K. (2008); Houses of Parliament, London, U.K. (2008). Selected group exhibitions include: Gallery of Photography at Temple Bar, Dublin, Ireland (2007); National Museum of Singapore, Singapore (2007); Saatchi Gallery, London, U.K. (2010) and the Tate Modern, London, UK (2014).