Based in the United States, Lebanese photojournalist Rania Matar returns to her native land frequently to record the vicissitudes of its ever-shifting social life. A mixture of Western cosmopolitanism and Christian and Muslim tradition, torn by sectarian strife, and always in the process of bouncing back from perpetual crises, Lebanon would seem to be too complex to capture in a series of photographs, yet Matar has succeeded in putting everything into focus in compact and telling black-and-white images of the country’s women. From a portrait of a beautiful woman in a chadour intently listening to her iPod to a street scene in which a girl in boots and tight jeans walks with her boyfriend past a group of sedate women in dark head scarves, Matar shows us the Lebanese dance of cultural fusion and separation. (Michael Weinstein)
Through March 30 at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington.