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One of Palestine’s centuries-old cultural traditions is the creation and use of renowned embroidery, aka ‘tatreez,’ which is notable for its exceptional technique and patterns, mainly on Palestinian dresses, such as the thobe. Those Patterns tell stories not only from the past but also from the present and the future. For more than 100 years and until this very day, Palestinians have continued to embroider beyond borders and throughout the diaspora. Tatreez played a role in the preservation of the Palestinian identity as well as a way to encode Palestinian stories though embroidery. It is also a symbol of Palestinian heritage and has always been a symbol of resistance. Women of Palestine use the language of tatreez to identify their hometowns, even their marital status.

Today, through the creative minds of artists and designers, we see tatreez expanding its presence to be on more than Palestinian dresses. One example is the Autumn Harvest project, a collaboration between the UAE-based social enterprise 81 Designs, founded by Nesrine El Tibi Maalouf and Nadine Maalouf, and the Morrocan pottery artist Bouchra Boudoua, who aims to create a balance between the old-age and the modern through her designs on decorative and functional ceramics.

Courtesy of 81 Designs

Each project curated by 81 Designs collaborates with an artist from the Middle East and North Africa region to provide employment opportunities for refugee artisan women living in Ain El-Hilweh Camp in South Lebanon, to showcase their talent and to help improve their living conditions. And that vision persists through the Autumn Harvest project, combining both pottery and tatreez. Bouchra, alongside her team and other local potters in Morocco, created a series of her signature design pots from her creative studio in Marrakech, and transported them to the refugee camp in Lebanon for the Palestinian women to weave their magic on the pots, using raffia fiber.

Courtesy of 81 Designs

The Autumn Harvest project is scheduled to be presented during Abu Dhabi Art on November 16-20 at Manarat Al Saadiyat.

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