Artist Talk and Palestinian Embroidery Class with Wafa Ghnaim
The thobe, a traditional embroidered dress handmade and worn for centuries by Palestinian women, is the bedrock of Palestinian textile artistry. Since the 11th century, Palestinian women have showcased their skillful stitchery on their traditional costume, displaying distinctive motifs, colors and styles across the various villages of old Palestine. This cross-stitch is a centuries-old art form, yet it continued to evolve throughout the twentieth century in response to political, economic, and social conditions of dislocated and dispossessed Palestinian refugees. The thobe ultimately transitioned from the private and domestic domains into a nationalist narrative, a unifying symbol of cultural identity.
Join us for a talk and virtual embroidery class with Washington, DC-based artist and researcher Wafa Ghnaim. Wafa will give a brief talk on her research and work preserving Tatreez as an art form, answer questions, and lead a class where participants will learn how to embroider traditional tatreez with a focus on a Quwar, a flowerpot design from Ramallah قوار. Participants may source their own materials for the workshop as suggested by Wafa here (under the heading Aida Cloth).
This class is suitable for learners at all levels.
Wafa Ghnaim is an American-born Palestinian artist, researcher, writer, and businesswoman. In 2021 she became an artist-in-residence at the Museum of the Palestinian People, and she continues her work as an instructor at the Smithsonian Museum, and a field researcher at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Her first book, “Tatreez & Tea: Embroidery and Storytelling in the Palestinian Diaspora” (2018), documents the traditional patterns passed to her by her mother, the award-winning Palestinian embroidery artist, Feryal Abbasi-Ghnaim.
Wafa is currently conducting research at various institutions worldwide for her next publication (set for publication in 2023). In 2018, Wafa was awarded the prestigious New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Traditional Arts for her work in preserving and teaching Palestinian embroidery around the globe, particularly through Tatreez & Tea, an online artistic initiative she established in 2016. Through her art, scholarship, activism, and pedagogy, Wafa Ghnaim has led a tatreez revolution, bringing together a global collective of embroiderers, allies, designers, scholars, and artists who are committed to preserving tatreez in the Palestinian diaspora. She was recently featured in Vogue Magazine, naming her and her mother “the world’s leading guardians of tatreez.” Wafa currently resides in Washington, D.C.