I have just spent 8 days in Gaza. The first day was a busy one as it was the only day Jamila our Gaza co-ordinator and I had together. Jamila had to leave early the following day for Oxford to receive her Master’s degree certificate from Oxford Brookes University. We managed to see Ibrahim Muhtadi at Atfaluna and receive two panels, the Gaza Roof tops panel designed by Adham Jaber and stitched by Hekmat, and the Gaza Fisherman, also designed by Adham Jaber and stitched by a member of The Society of Women Graduates in Gaza. Next we visited a new sewing group, Albeit Alsamed who are interested in making panels with us, and we agreed a scene of dancing women showing dress design (see the sample). Hind El Arabi, who heads UNRWAs Women’s Programme, has offered to help us with an UNRWA sewing group, Sulafa, again a new group to us who showed us some wonderful work. We spent time with Najwa Lobbad, who has ideas of getting youngsters involved with sketching images. Everyone we spoke with, both women and men, were very keen and excited about making panels depicting their life and times.
We have commissioned 10 panels so far from Bethlehem, Nablus, Gaza and Sakhneen. All images have been suggested, designed and are either sewn or will be sewn by Palestinians from various walks of life.
Stitching at Atfaluna
Hekmat and Jan by the sea talking about the stitches for The Calligraphy Panel that is in progress
Discussing the dancing women with Albeit Alsamed embroiderers
The Gaza Fisherman
Dancing women sample
UNRWA Sulafa women with Hind El Arabi