eliza collin


Samak Bilab Bi Delo in participation with The Tanweer Center Beit Ummar, Palestine

3rd March, 2019

As if dragging Palestinian Embroidery into a period of Abstraction, while also bearing an immediate reflection of the currents of contemporary life within Beit Ummar, Palestine. Welaa is a series of children’s collages, paintings, adolescents graffiti (Palestinian, I am proud) and scattered construction materials (Bricks) embroidered into the rich colors of stripped Damascus Silks and soft, white Hebron Cottons. Welaa is named after Welaa Ali Breighith, the embroiderer from Beit Ummar who created the work. By memorializing the woman who made the work, Welaa inherits an identity which is traceable to a location, a community, families and individuals, marking a contemporary presence within the world. In this manner, while maintaining it’s identity as Palestinian Embroidery, the work shifts narrative away from the current market and begins to tell an alternative story that was born in the village of Beit Ummar, and contains the journeys of civilization across the land.

The striped fabric is Damascus Silk, produced in Syria and a staple of the traditional thobe. The white fabric, two types of cotton, produced in a family owned factory in Hebron, one of the last of its kind to still produce 100% cotton fabrics exist as part of the historical culture. The trade route that once enabled this cultural practice to flourish has been annihilated by war, borders and taxes, yet Welaa explores the possibilities of repair and reconnection of these routes. Welaa is a work commissioned by Samak Bilab Bi Delo, a cultural initiative that aims create art outside the framework of a geopolitical narratives. While strengthening and raising quality of life through community organized youth centred programs, Samak Bilab Bi Delo works to stimulate local trade routes between while artisans while sourcing funds to support an equal collaboration between ourselves and the Palestinian artisans through ecologically sound and sustainable production techniques.

Below I am showing you a range of natural dye samples we commissioned from Safi Crafts in Ghor el Safi, Jordan. Together with these women we hope to expand the natural colour range for women in Palestine and through connecting these groups of artisans who work so closely yet are separated not only by boarders but also by prejudice, we hope to start grass routes dialogue on how these two groups with their strong aesthetics can form a stable bond through trade of skills and materials.