From the River to the Sea, A Tribute to Tatreez

“Your culture is not what your hands touch or make – it’s what moves your hands” –
 Tyson Yunkaporta in Sand Talk, a book I loved last year. Photos of Palestinian women intently stitching brought those words back. This painting is my small tribute to the powerful Resistance that threads its way through the centuries-old indigenous art form of Tatreez (Arabic: تطريز).
Traditional Palestinian embroidery known as Tatreez has lived through centuries, passed down from mothers to daughters. As an art form inseparable from its people, tatreez holds the history and culture of Palestine in every stitch.
To quote Jenna Abuelhaija, a Palestinian writer, “The practice of tatreez is not only an embroidered reflection of Palestinian determination, but an artistic language that vocalizes indigenous stories. Tatreez does not solely exemplify a folk tradition that has persevered in the face of mass displacement and systematic genocide; it wades into a complex narrative on what it means to be Palestinian. Tatreez, like other traditions, cuts through the fanatical rhetoric that invalidates the cultural and geographic presence of Palestinians in their homeland. As a Palestinian in diaspora, you are merely viewed as a vexed geopolitical conflict, not as an impressionable individual with a unique ethnic heritage. The cultural magnitude of tatreez sprawls far past what meets the eye, as it symbolizes female empowerment, political resistance, and Palestinian liberation.”
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