Fatima Al Matar “Windows” Opens April 22


Fatima Al Matar

April 22 – May 20, 2023

Public reception: Friday, May 5th, 6-9pm

Artist Talk: Friday, May 5th at 7:30PM

Fatima Al Matar is from Kuwait, she sought asylum in the United States with her daughter Jori in 2018, after facing persecution and prosecution for her political and social activism. Her project “Windows” is a very personal one.

Fatima finds value in discarded things, that’s how she began painting on these old, salvaged windows she found at different locations in Cleveland: industrial salvage yards, Craigslist, and sometimes abandoned on a curb.

As an Arab refugee, Fatima has always been inspired by Arabic calligraphy, she loves the fluidity of her first language, its movement and its aliveness.

Painting Arabic calligraphy on windows, helps her keep her my mother tongue alive. The sayings she paints on glass empower her. On one window she painted: “Despite the Darkness, I persist.” The fragility of the old glass window combined with the power of these words, form a kind of metaphor for her journey as a refugee in the United States, all the challenges she faced and continue to face in a new society, her experience of the detention center, her struggle to find work that aligns with her level of education and experience, the loneliness and isolation she sometimes feels, and the hope of succeeding as an artist, writer, and a creative in a new community and culture.

Gallery Hours: Thursday – Saturday, 12-4pm or by appointment. Contact gallery@waterlooarts.org or 216-692-9500 for more information. 



Fatima Al Matar’s writing has appeared in The Wry Ronin, Acumen, The Journal, Angelic Dynamo, Further Monthly, Fleeting Magazine, Bad Language, Staples Magazine, Word, Jaffat El Aqlam, Oyster River Pages, Gordon Square Review, OffSpring, and Cleveland Scene Magazine. Matar is currently querying literary agents for her memoir which details what she had experienced in Kuwait, and inside the Dilley Detention Center in Texas, USA.


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