Photo London Live: Diana Matar and Makeda Best in conversation

Tete a Tete 2 2019 Pigment print, Ed.8, 51.5 x 64 cm. © the Artist Courtesy Purdy Hicks.

Tuesday 13 October, 7 pm BST – online panel discussion, registration required (free).


Register here


Diana Matar often spends years on a project to capture the invisible traces of human history and query what role aesthetics might play in the depiction of power. She will discuss photography’s ability to engage with the past as well as her most recent photographic series, Tête-à-tête (2019), with Makeda Best, Richard L. Menschel Curator of Photography at the Harvard Art Museums.

Tête-à-tête was made during a residency at the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli, where Matar focused on the collection of Greek and Roman sculptures. ‘Through the lens, I saw personalities displaying unique psychologies and imperfections: individuals with scars, physical deformities, emotional complexities and vulnerabilities. I saw the man on the street corner, the woman in the shop, the boy who had left his family to cross the sea. Face to face, these ancient and animated human likenesses seemed poignant and of our time. The longer I spent with the collection, the more I found that, even though the sculptures were made of stone, they were alive and dynamic; that if one attended to them, they responded’. – Diana Matar

Tête-à-tête is presented for the first time at Photo London Digital by Purdy Hicks.


About the speakers:
Diana Matar is a photographic artist whose bodies of work investigate themes of history, memory, and state sponsored violence. A graduate of the Royal College of Art, she has received the Deutsche Bank Pyramid Award for Fine Art; the International Fund for Documentary Photography; a Ford Foundation Grant for artists making work on history and memory; and has twice been awarded an Arts Council of England Individual Artist Grant. Her work is held in public and private collections and has been exhibited in numerous institutions. Including Tate Modern, London; Museum Folkswang, Essen; The Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris; The Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; and Musee de la Photographie a Charleroi. Evidence her fist monograph was published in 2014 by Schilt Publishing to critical acclaim and My America will be published by GOST in early 2021. Matar is Distinguished Artist at Barnard College.
Makeda Best is the Richard L. Menschel Curator of Photography, Harvard Art Museums. With a B.A. from Barnard College, an M.F.A. from California Institute for the Arts, and a Ph.D. from Harvard University, Best oversees the museums’ photography collections. Her scholarly interests focus on 19th- and 20th-century American photography, with a special interest in photojournalism, documentary, war photography, and text and image works. Recent exhibitions include Crossing Lines, Constructing Home: Displacement and Belonging in Contemporary Art (co-curated with Mary Schneider Enriquez; 2019–20); Winslow Homer: Eyewitness (co-curated with Ethan Lasser; 2019); and Time is Now: Photography and Social Change in James Baldwin’s America (2018).