This is a not for profit project in support of Palestinian women: Women who live an oppressed existence, who are poor, whose land has been taken from them; many whose families have lived for over half a century in refugee camps throughout the Middle East; women who like any wife or mother desperately want to take care of their families but face a daily struggle for survival.
The History Tapestry Project will empower Palestinian women, enabling them to engage in income generating activity whilst telling the story of the villages and towns, the life and heritage of their ancestors and forebears, the indigenous people of Palestine, through beautiful skilled embroidery, and the Palestinian History Tapestry Project.
What is the Palestinian History Tapestry Project ? click here to learn more
Charity Registration Number EW01704
During the last week of March Helen visited the Al Amari group in Ramallah and talked with Dawlet who is stitching the current panel.
Meet Basma and Iman from Ein el Helweh refugee camp near Saida. Basma has stitched a spacer and Iman a panel for the project and have both taken other images to stitch. A third embroiderer, Keffa, has agreed to try a spacer with a view to doing more if she likes the work. Riham our coordinator for Lebanon is working very closely with the women and doing a great job.
Meet Jeanette in Amman, a meticulous and gifted Palestinian embroiderer. I showed her some samples of embroidery I had taken with me from our collection, and without hesitation she new immediately where the work had been done. Either by the stitches or by the fabric used. We are lucky to have her working for the tapestry. Barbara our coordinator for Amman feels that we are now on an embroidery roll in Amman. Janette has taken an image to work herself and a second piece for a friend who she works closely with. Barbara is keen to seek embroiderers from Jerash refugee camp known as ‘Gaza camp’ where Palestinian people live in very poor and difficult conditions. The camp is about 40Km from Amman and is situated on Roman ruins. Barbara is being supported by Leila the curator of Tiraz, a museum in Amman with the largest collection of Palestinian dress and embroidery http://tirazcentre.org/en/widad-kawar and Shaden who runs the Museum shop.
Women in Adversity
contemporary and traditional crafts as a source of hope and income
part of the
14th Oxford Human Rights Festival
Monday 25th January – Friday 19th February 2016 9am – 6pm
Glass Tank gallery, ground floor, Abercrombie Building, Oxford Brookes University
Founded in 2003, the Oxford Human Rights Festival is an initiative of postgraduate students on the MA and MArchD courses in Development and Emergency Practice, with the aim of raising awareness of human rights issues in Brookes students and the wider Oxford community through the arts. This year’s programme includes feature films, music, talks and documentaries and will take place at Oxford Brookes University from Wednesday 10th to Saturday 13th February 2016.
The centrepiece of the 2016 festival is Women in Adversity, an exhibition in the Glass Tank gallery of crafts made by women facing daily situations of conflict, poverty and disease. It features embroidered panels from the Palestinian History Tapestry, a project which tells the story of the life and heritage of the indigenous people of Palestine and supports the traditional craft of Palestinian needlewomen. There is also a display of the Keiskamma History Tapestry, which illustrates the life of the people of the Eastern Cape of South Africa, items from the Windmill Fairtrade Shop in Headington, Oxford, imagery from the Suffragette movement and other examples of craft by women from the UK and around the world.
Dave and Cheryl Chapman of the Village Shop in Stanton-St-John, Oxfordshire have very kindly offered us their shop window for the whole of July. We have displayed the ‘Henna Party’ panel from Albeit Alsamed Gaza, ‘Olive Picking’ panel from the Haneen Project Nablus and the ‘Wedding’ panel from Al Deheishi refugee camp in the West Bank. There have also been embroideries for sale from Atfaluna and Sulafa embroidery groups in Gaza. According to Cheryl, there has been purchases of work and much interest in the project.
Palestine, Bronze period: Canaanites travelling to Egypt
[wall painting Bani Hassan, Egypt]
History panel stitched in the Naqab by Amina Abu-Rabia’
We have generously been given space in St Giles Church Woodstock Road, to contribute to the festival “Celebrating life and Culture” of Palestine and to show our work in progress. Excellent photo copies of all our current embroidered panels and spacers are on display. The church is open 12-2pm weekdays for visitors. If you are in Oxford I urge you to take a look. We are well pleased with the results.
The festival runs in Oxford City from 4th June -21st June.
Lots of activity showing the life and culture of Palestinians.
Something for everyone daily
On Saturday 30th June there was a meeting to decide on more images to add to those already made for the tapestry. Embroiderers have been waiting a long time for guidance and we are at last able to make additional suggestions. Our Patron Ghada, Gaza coordinator Shaima, visiting advisor Salem, and Judith, Iain, and Jan from UK spent a long time studying images that have been submitted by members of the various teams in Gaza, Amman, Naqab and UK.
Teams, you will be hearing any day now, Insha Alla.
Yara Hawari, one of our UK advisors, is currently living in Jerusalem and working towards her PhD. She has agreed for the time being, to be the link person between the embroiderers in Al Amari Refugee Camp in Ramallah and the UK team. Thank you Yara this is a valuable contribution we are grateful.
Amman and Beirut 15th – 23rd March2015
Visits were made to
- A community project in Amman run by Um Jassar
- Um Ismail, leader of a woman’s embroidery group “Hope” part of Al Amal, a Baqaa camp community organisation.
- Faiha Abdulhadi a writer and Researcher Consultant who is working on Palestinian memory through “ِAl Rowat for Studies and Research.
- Independent meetings/discussions were held with the PHT Patron Ghada Karmi.
- A meeting and visit with Widad Kawar owner of the Tiraz Centre, www.tirazcentre.org home of Arab dress.
All of these visits and discussions gave us positive ideas for the future of embroidery in Jordan.
Widad Kawas home with Barbara Jan and Ghada
When in Beirut, three years ago, we tried to establish an interest in the project with embroidery groups based in refugee camps. We made contact with Mahmoud Zeidan a Palestinian who has been interested in the project since our original visit. Mahmoud made a few phone calls and visits and suggested someone he thought might be suitable for the role of coordinator in Lebanon. We met with Riham Khalil from Saida a mother of three who was very enthusiastic about volunteering to help with the project. We agreed together that she would be able to fulfil the role of coordinator
Jan and Iain having coffee with Mahmoud Zeidan, Riham Khalil and Ali Zeidan
It was a successful visit and future visits are planned.
We are happy to tell you that Mahmoud Zeidan and Riham Khalil both from the village of Safsuf in the Safad district of Palestine, have joined the project. They have volunteered to help find Palestinian embroiderers in Lebanon, where they both live with their respective families.