Simas was awarded the 2017 Lucie Foundation International Photography Award for event Social Cause. Her fine art prints are included in numerous private and corporate collections, including the African Union, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the International Organization for Migration (UN Migration). Though the majority of her photos appear in humanitarian organization collateral, her images have appeared in publications such as The Guardian, Black & White Magazine and Professional Photographers Magazine. Her client roster includes, among others, Genesis Fund Boston, MA; Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress, Boston, MA; Foundation for Puerto Rico, PR; Big Life, Kenya; HAART Kenya; Orangutan Information Center, Indonesia.
Simas is currently exhibiting in the Arts to End Slavery Exhibition in Nairobi, Kenya. Arts to End Slavery (A2ES) is an awareness raising art project that aims to bring attention to human trafficking in Kenya. It was developed and launched in 2015 by a Nairobi based NGO, Awareness Against Human Trafficking (HAART) The A2ES exhibition.
Dreams Are Valid
“Raising a child in Kibera is filled with difficulties, but if you trust in yourself and work hard, you can make something of yourself. “– Genevieve single mother age 17
In this series of portraits entitled “Dreams Are Valid” I am focusing my lens on the experience of Kenyan people living and working in Kibera, Nairobi. This photo series captures many characteristics of the environment in which they live, but more importantly, focuses on the challenges, hopes, and passions of these people. The sole purpose is to connect with the individuals I am photographing not only through the stillness of my lens but also through the conversation in all forms of language – verbally, visually, and vocally. In this series, people are photographed in their homes, public streets, and at work using natural lighting.
Faces Behind Atrocities
Human trafficking is globally pervasive, economically motivated, and emotionally overwhelming. The exhibit “ Faces Behind Atrocities” are portraits of 7 young women, ages 13-16, from 4 different nationalities who have been rescued from the horrors of the trafficking world and are in the healing process. In collaboration with the survivors, Matilde Simas worked to provide a forum for healing through art. In this portrait series low lighting was used to evoke a mood of deception and secrecy that has been endured. In a pure example of courage, many of these woman chose to hide their faces behind a mask to protect their identity. In addition to providing a visual representation of their resilience, beauty, and strength, each woman recorded a written testimony of how they were lead into trafficking and the atrocities they faced.
A Kenyan based nonprofit, HAART Kenya, granted Matilde access to their organization to document the healing process of these young women. HAART Kenya works exclusively on combatting human trafficking in Kenya and empowering its victims.