Middle East Monitor has partnered with the Palestinian History Tapestry Project (PHT) to launch its exhibition in London tomorrow evening (Tuesday), celebrating the story of Palestine as told by the people of the region.
Made by Palestinian women from within and outside Palestine, the tapestry tells the story of Palestine from the Neolithic Age to the present. It is thought to be the largest embroidered collection of illustrative work ever produced by Palestinian embroiderers.
The exhibition is the first time that the tapestry will be on display in its entirety, and has been scheduled to mark the 70th anniversary of the adoption of UN Resolution 194 which called for the Palestinian right of return. Photographic productions of all the panels will be shown for the duration of the exhibition, with some of the original panels on display exclusively for the launch.
The event will also feature a panel discussion chaired by MEMO, with founder of the project Jan Chalmers, former Middle East Curator for the British Museum Shelagh Weir, author Karl Sabbagh, tapestry designer Ibrahim Muhtadi, and Palestinian journalist Jehan Alfarra.
The Palestinian History Tapestry was proposed in 2012 by Chalmers who had worked for the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Gaza and was familiar with the unique quality of Palestinian embroidery.
It was designed and embroidered by Palestinian women who live and work across Palestine in areas such as Gaza, the West Bank, Jerusalem and the Naqab, as well as those living in Lebanon and Jordan. The work of the embroiderers was then funded by charitable donations and from sales of other Palestinian embroidery.
The project has simultaneously empowered Palestinian women by allowing them to gain an income, whilst giving them the opportunity to tell their own stories.
“Instead of focusing on stories of hardship or narratives of oppression, the project highlights the strength, courage and tenacity of Palestinian women in the face of constant adversity,” a statement from the PHT explained. “Through the creativity, skills and imagination of their illustrations and embroidery, the Tapestry tells the story of Palestinian peoples, their history and heritage.”
Readers can follow coverage of the launch event on MEMO’s Twitter and Instagram. The exhibition will run at P21 Gallery until 22 December.