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Thobes: The Cross-point of Palestinian Identities

In 2021 Palestinian embroidery (tatreez) was added to the UNESCO cultural heritage list. Although the beauty of this practice and the masterfully stitched threads of colors and patterns are enough to warrant this honor, the uniqueness of Palestinian embroidery lies in the stories and histories that it carries. This exhibition recognizes and acclaims this art and the creative virtuosity of Palestinian women.

Thobes is a multimedia touring exhibition of ceremonial clothes embroidered by Palestinian women between 1850 and 1950. It was inaugurated on March 18 at the Pinacoteca Civica of the city of Follonica in Italy. The exhibition’s creator and curator is Taisir Masrieh Hasbun, art director of This Week in Palestine.

The displayed thobes are printed on transparent plexiglass in scale 1/1 and are from the collections of the Bank of Palestine, George Al Ama, Maha Abu Shusheh, and Maha Saca, whereas the original accessories are from the collections of Brigitte Rishmawi and Suraya Hoffmann.

The viewers find themselves in front of a wide range of techniques used in dressmaking and embroidery in historical Palestine, such as tahriri (couching), tashreem (patchwork), and manajel (binding), and they are invited to admire the main regional styles of costume with their materials and ornamentation against the background of Palestinian life and culture.

The detailed captions on the thobes are accompanied by 12 printed paintings by the renowned Palestinian artist Suleiman Mansour that represent women from various Palestinian areas and their embroidered dresses.

At the end of April the exhibition will travel to Cologne, Germany, then in June to Geneva, Switzerland, and later to other European cities.

The exhibition is supported by the Bank of Palestine and Net Tours in collaboration with the Embassy of Palestine to the Holy See and SG Italy.

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