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Tatreez & Me: Motherhood, Palestinian Identity, and Embroidery

Tatreez & Me: Motherhood, Palestinian Identity, and Embroidery

Sun, Mar 21, 2021 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time (UTC-4)

Tickets here.

Join acclaimed embroiders Wafa Ghnaim and Feryal Abbasi-Ghnaim this Palestinian mother’s day!

About this Event

Palestinian embroidery, or tatreez, is centuries-old folk art, traditionally passed from mother to daughter over a cup of tea. The traditional Palestinian embroidered dress, also known as the thobe, has traceable origins from the beginning of the sixteenth century and the tatreez, or embroidery, has an iconographical and symbolic significance that ultimately dates back to Chinese symbols found around 5,000 BC.

Award-winning Palestinian embroiderer Feryal Abbasi-Ghnaim began passing the endangered art form to her daughter Wafa Ghnaim at two years old.

This Mother’s Day, we will celebrate the Palestinian art of embroidery and Palestinian stories through a conversation with Feryal and Wafa about motherhood, Palestinian identity, and embroidery. Bring your mom and your girlfriends for what is sure to be a thoughtful, engaging, and heartwarming conversation.

Feryal is a trained arts educator, who has been teaching embroidery since the 1970s when she led the art curricula development for UNRWA at the Yarmook Refugee Camp in Irbid, Jordan and Damascus, Syria for twelve years. After Feryal immigrated with her husband to the United States, she continued teaching Palestinian embroidery for the next 40 years for nonprofit organizations, community events, universities and public schools. Feryal’s lifetime dedication to preserving Palestinian embroidery earned her a 2018 National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellow, as the first Palestinian woman to receive this honor by the United States government.

In 2015, Wafa Ghnaim created Tatreez & Tea when she set out to write a book that preserved the meanings and patterns of fifteen designs she and her sisters spent their lives learning about. Wafa was awarded funding in 2016 by the Brooklyn Arts Council, Regional Arts & Culture Council and Clackamas County Cultural Coalition to complete the digital book project titled, Tatreez & Tea: Embroidery and Storytelling in the Palestinian Diaspora. Wafa wrote and self-published the book in seven months, releasing it on November 16, 2016. In 2017, Wafa was awarded additional funding by the Brooklyn Arts Council and Clackamas County Cultural Coalition to complete an expanded, revised, second edition in print, which was self-published on June 30, 2018. The book expanded to 448 pages with dozens more embroidery patterns and meanings.

Today Tatreez & Tea brings together people from across the world to learn about tatreez and the precious art form. Wafa is working on her second book project to preserve, identify, and reclaim endangered Palestinian embroidery designs, histories, and meanings in a major museum in the United States. You can support the work here.

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