October 4 – October 30, 2022
Online Artist Reception - Thursday October 6, 7pm Eastern
Artist Reception @ The Griffin Museum - Saturday October 8th, 5 to 7pm
Online Artist Talk with Winner & Finalists - Thursday October 20th, 7 to 8.30 PM Eastern / 4PM Pacific
The Griffin Museum is thrilled to partner with Maine Media Workshops to present the 2022 Arnold Newman Prize winner Lisa Elmaleh, and finalists Anna Grenvenitis, Rania Matar and Andrew Kung. The Arnold Newman Prize for New Directions in Photographic Portraiture is a $20,000 prize awarded annually to a photographer whose work demonstrates a compelling new vision in photographic portraiture. The Prize is generously funded by the Arnold & Augusta Newman Foundation and proudly administered by Maine Media Workshops + College.
Lisa Elmaleh (Promised Land)
Promised Land is a series of portraits of those whose lives have been affected by American policies implemented during the construction of the border wall. In an attempt to shed light on the lives that are impacted, I am photographing along the US/Mexico border from Boca Chica in the Gulf of Mexico to the border of Tijuana on the west coast. I am working with a large format 8×10 camera to create these portraits. Utilizing its slowness as an asset, I am able to spend time with each person who sits in front of my lens, hearing their stories. To create these images, I am volunteering with humanitarian aid groups on either side of the border. I have photographed and worked with migrants, nuns, volunteers, border patrol, groups that leave water on known migrant trails, and groups who search for missing migrants in the desert of the United States.
About Lisa Elmaleh
Lisa Elmaleh is an American visual artist, educator, and documentarian based in Paw Paw, West Virginia. She specializes in large-format work in tintype, glass negative, and celluloid film. Since 2007, she has been traveling across the US documenting American landscapes, life, and culture. Born in Miami, Florida (1984), Lisa completed a BFA at the School of Visual Arts in New York in 2007, during which time she was awarded the Silas Rhodes Scholarship. Upon graduating, she received the prestigious Tierney Fellowship to work on a project that evolved into an in-depth visual documentation of the impact of climate change on the Everglades. The culmination of this project resulted in a book titled Everglades published in 2016 by Zatara Press. Elmaleh’s work has been exhibited nationwide and recognized by the Aaron Siskind Foundation, Puffin Foundation, The Tierney Foundation, among others. Her work has been published by Harper’s Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine, CNN, The New York Times, National Geographic, Oxford American, Garden & Gun, and NPR, among others. Lisa travels in truck containing her bed, and a portable wet plate darkroom. She has a traditional black and white darkroom where she prints in West Virginia.
Anna Grevenitis (Regard)
REGARD /ʁə.ɡaʁ/ verb 1. To consider or think of (someone or something) in a specified way. When my daughter was born, I was told that she had the “physical markers” for Down syndrome. A few days later, the diagnosis of Trisomy 21 was confirmed with a simple blood test. Today, years later, Luigia is a lively teenager, yet these “markers” have grown with her, and her disability remains visible to the outside world. As we try to go about our ordinary lives in our community–getting ice cream after school, going grocery shopping or walking to the local library–I often catch people staring, gawking, or side-glancing at her, at us. Even though their gaze feels invasive, I perceive it as more questioning than judging, at least most of the time. With this on-going series REGARD, I am opening a window into our reality. To emphasize control over my message, these everyday scenes are meticulously set, lit up; they are staged and posed. The performers are my daughter and me. The double self-portraits are purposefully developed in black and white, for by refusing the decorative and emotionally evocative element of color, I aim to maintain a distance between us and them. The composition of the photographs expresses routine, domestic acts in which I address the viewers directly: look at us bathing; look at us grooming; here we are at bedtime; this is us on a random day at the beach. In each scene, the viewers are plunged into the outside perspective. At first glance, it may seem that I am offering us as vulnerable prey to their judgment, yet in fact I am guarding our lives, and the viewers are caught gawking–my direct gaze at the camera. My series is very basic in its concept: it shows a child, it shows a mother, it shows them living at home, performing familial acts. Because I believe in the connective power offered by the depiction of domesticity, I hope that REGARD helps the audience rethink some of their assumptions about people living with disabilities and with this, I hope my series finds a humble spot within the movement that helps people with disabilities gain visibility.
About Anna Grevenitis
Originally from France, Anna Grevenitis is a photographer based in Brooklyn, NY. Drawing on the experiences of the domestic to inform her daily practice, she uses her home as a stage and her body and the body of others in her familial sphere as characters to deliver, in the photographs, the essence of what she wants to express about family and the self. For her work, the act of performing is an important step in image making. Nowadays she divides her time between research and creation, and she is interested in building long term projects in photography as an act of establishing visual memory and engaging in social visibility. Grevenitis has been exhibited in the United States and internationally. Her series REGARD has been featured in The New Yorker and more recently has been recognized by the Critic’s Choice Award of Lensculture and the Black and White Award of the Lucie Foundation.
Rania Matar (Where Do I Go?)
As a Lebanese-born American artist and mother, my work explores personal and collective identity through photographs of female adolescence and womanhood in the United States where I live, and Lebanon where I am from. However, the past three years have been extremely difficult in Lebanon, starting with the 2019 uprising protesting corruption and inflation, to the coronavirus and months of lockdown that proved disastrous for the country, and finally to the August 4, 2020 Port of Beirut explosions, that caused further catastrophic damage. The country has been spiraling into the abyss since, with shortages of cash, gas, electricity, medicine, and water. My focus shifted to Lebanon. During recent trips to Lebanon, I found hope and inspiration through the younger generation of women. Instead of focusing on destruction, I found myself in awe of them, their creativity, strength, beauty, and resilience, despite all. I felt a sense of urgency in collaborating with them, giving them a voice, and the opportunity and power to express themselves. I found myself focusing on their majestic presence. Every encounter was intense, urgent, and meaningful. The need to hold on to creativity and self-expression felt more important than ever. We were creating the stage together to tell the story – her individual story and our collective story. I saw graffiti on the wall that said in Arabic: “Where do I go” (lawen ruh لوين روح)? These women are at that crossroad. Where do they go? I was their age when I left Lebanon in 1984 during the Civil War. Some are leaving; others cannot afford to go anywhere. I want to empower them and tell their story through collaborative portraiture. This work is in progress. Looking at the images I have made so far, I am absolutely convinced that, despite the current very tough situation, the creativity and resilience of this young generation of women will prevail. This project is for them and for us: the ones who are staying and the ones who have left.
About Rania Matar
Born and raised in Lebanon, Rania Matar moved to the U.S. in 1984. As a Lebanese-born American woman and mother, her cross-cultural experience and personal narrative inform her photography. Matar’s work has been widely exhibited in museums worldwide in solo and group exhibitions, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Carnegie Museum of Art, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Fotografiska, and more. It is part of the permanent collections of several museums, institutions, and private collections. A mid-career retrospective of her work was recently on view at Cleveland Museum of Art, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, and the American University of Beirut Museum. In 2023, she will have 2 solo museum exhibitions of her recently published series SHE at the Huntsville Museum of Art and the Fitchburg Museum of Art. Her images will also be part of a traveling exhibition about Women Artists from the Middle East that opens at LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art). Matar received 2022 Leica Women Foto Project Award, 2018 Guggenheim Fellowship, 2017 Mellon Foundation artist-in-residency grant, 2021, 2011, 2007 Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellowships, 2011 Griffin Museum of Photography Legacy Award. She is a finalist for the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition with an exhibition at the Smithsonian National Gallery of Art. In 2008 she was a finalist for the Foster Award at the ICA/Boston, with an accompanying solo exhibition. She published four books: SHE, 2021; L’Enfant-Femme, 2016; A Girl and Her Room, 2012; Ordinary Lives, 2009.
Andrew Kung (The All-American)
The All-American II is a photo series that recontextualizes traditional notions of masculinity and belonging. I imagine and construct scenes of strength, intimacy, togetherness between Asian men that I’ve rarely witnessed in an American context – showcasing tender moments that rebel against monolithic constructs of masculinity that have “other-ed” them as weak, undesirable, and not American enough.
I portray my family, friends, self in spaces deeply personal to me – my current bedroom, my bedroom growing up, parks I used to visit growing up, my current neighborhood – and often times in my own wardrobe, to ultimately reinforce a connectedness with my subjects, my memories, and my journey of self-discovery. The images center on the dignity and diversity of my subjects, my relationship with my subjects, and ultimately my relationship with my own masculinity, all in an attempt to humanize the desexualized Asian American man.
About Andrew Kung
Andrew Kung is a Brooklyn based photographer working across genres to explore themes of race, identity, and belonging. His work imagines tender and intimate moments and recontextualizes how Asian American life is viewed and represented. Andrew’s bodies of work have been featured on Dazed, i-D, Vogue, Artsy, AnOther, NOWNESS, CNN, NBC, and The New York Times and he has worked with selected clients such as Glossier, The New Yorker, L’Officiel, Paper Magazine, Beats by Dre, and HBO. In 2021, he was one of Adobe’s Rising Stars of Photography, an Adobe Creative Residency Fund Recipient, and a Young Guns 19 Finalist; in 2022, he was a Communication Arts Photography Annual Winner and The One Club for Creativity’s COLORFUL Winner. Outside of making images, Andrew has spoken on ABC Live and has guest lectured at various universities, from School of Visual Arts (SVA) to Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), Williams College, American University, Smith College, and The School of The New York Times. Prior to his photography journey, he attended UC Berkeley’s business school and worked in Silicon Valley at LinkedIn.