a thobe story

A Thobe Story

Material: Fabric with brass

Year: 2020

Oranges Chair

Some tell their stories using the spoken word, some in the form of the written word, some through their art, music and dance.

Palestinian women tell stories through their skillful and intricate stitchery and embroidery, usually placed on women’s clothing (the “thobe”) as a way to reflect a woman’s social standing, marital status and wealth.

Embroidery stitches, motifs, colors and arrangements varied across time and from one Palestinian city and village to another.

Prior to 1948, the port city of Yaffa (Jaffa) was the cultural and economic heart of Palestine, driven largely by the worldwide export of its famous oranges. Contrary to Israeli propaganda that Palestine was an empty arid land before their arrival, Palestine had a dynamic agricultural and trade sector.

The Jaffa Chair pays homage to these two elements.

Engraved in the chair are two cross-stitches that were usually paired together by the women of Bayt-Dajan, a Palestinian village 6km southeast of Yaffa.

Story has it that the residents of Bayt Dajan were the first to start importing engraved sofas from Europe, owing to the wealth they accrued from their orange trade. The women of Bayt Dajan told this story in the embroidery in their thobes by usually pairing a cross stitch that was named “Kanabay” (Arabic for Sofa) alongside the orange motif cross-stitch.

On the seat of the Jaffa Chair engraved is the Kanabay cross-stitch and up the left arm of the chair is the orange motif.

Oranges were and remain a strong symbol of Palestinian national identity.

Dimensions: W:70cm X D:80cm X H:80cm
Limited edition of one only.
Year: 2017

Wihdeh Wa Shatat

Unit and Diaspora – “Wihdeh Wa Shatat”

An open-air, 180 piece, exhibit that captures the unique connection between the Palestinian people and the passage of time.

Time moves at a different pace for Palestinians as we count off the days and the years – 73 now – since the Palestinian exodus that started in 1948, as we await the day to return home.

Spread across a golden wheat field in a location overlooking Palestine, a series of sundials indicating via the angles of the dials where in the world the Palestinian diaspora spread, and the clustering of the dials marking the concentration of the diaspora in the different geographies.

The story of the Palestinian diaspora is also narrated in the selection of material.

The fragility of the limestone as it is moved from one place to another a reflection of how we as people are chipped away, deformed, and reshaped when we are moved from our homeland, and as we adapt to our new locations.

The brass gnomon depicts the unwavering strength and resilience of the Palestinian identity.

The combination of brass and stone together showing the tension we experience as a resilient people in a state of fragility.

The setup of the exhibit in an open field tells of the strong ties between the Palestinians and the land.

A different Palestinian embroidery pattern engraved in each gnomon looks to document an art form in more solid material as occupation works its way through ethnically cleaning and erasing Palestinian culture in all its forms.

The sun light streaming through the openings of the brass gnomon resulting in the reflection of the varied beautiful cross-stitch patterns on the stone is indicative of the mark the Palestinians left behind in every geography they arrived at, bringing with them the beaty of the Palestinian culture and adding value to their host countries.

Bridal Rug

The Bride’s Carpet

This art piece tells the fictional story of a mother who gifted her daughter a hand embroidered carpet for her wedding.

The daughter, fearing Israeli forces would break into her house and steal this precious gift, buried the gift in her garden.

Seventy years later, walking through the garden, artists nisreen and nermeen, see traces of the something hidden beneath and after digging up the garden, they uncover the carpet.

While the story is fictional, in reality and in the thousands, Palestinians hid their valuables in their gardens as they escaped the Israeli forces storming through towns and villages massacring the people and looting their homes. They hid their valuables thinking this nightmare would be over soon and they would be able to return home and recover their land and their possessions hidden beneath.

The Bride’s Carpet, made up of hundreds of pieces, is engraved in Basalt stone, some as small as 1cm by 1cm. The engravings have stitch patterns from all over Palestine and are buried under brass shavings.

Material: Basalt stone with brass.

Dimensions: W: 210cm, X L:380cm

Year: 2017

Patterns used:

Palm from Asdood area
Palm and Amulets from Hebron area
Dove from Hebron
Moon from Hebron area.