Event: Regional Distinctions of Traditional Palestinian Embroidered Dress, 1850-1948

Date & Time

January 21, 2022 - 11:00am to 12:00pm
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Contact Information

Céline Wachsmuth



Event Type

Conservation Conversation

Event Details

Wafa Ghnaim

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Embroidery in the Holy Land has existed for centuries, showcased in the decorated garments created and worn by Palestinian women for generations, as well as documented by the many international visitors who travelled to Palestine for pilgrimage or tourism. By the mid-nineteenth century, each region of historic Palestine had developed their own distinct styles, through variation of fabric, thread color, motif, and ensemble. Some cities, such as Bethlehem, Ramallah, Yaffa and Gaza, became famous for their unique ensembles, however there are dozens of villager and bedouin styles that exist across historic Palestine. Each style and regional variation speak a language of their own, transformed by the political, economic and social events that occurred at the turn of the century and continue to be cherished by Palestinians today.

Wafa Ghnaim is a Palestinian-American artist, researcher, writer, educator, and businesswoman who began learning Palestinian embroidery from her mother, award-winning artist Feryal Abbasi-Ghnaim, when she was two years old. Her first book, “Tatreez & Tea: Embroidery and Storytelling in the Palestinian Diaspora” (2018), documents the traditional patterns passed to her by her mother. Wafa has since become a leading educator in the field as the first-ever Palestinian embroidery instructor at the Smithsonian Museum, and an artist-in-residence at the Museum of the Palestinian People in Washington, D.C. In addition to her extensive scholarship, Wafa continues her mother’s educational legacy through Tatreez & Tea, a global arts education initiative she began in 2016. Wafa has been featured in major media outlets, most recently in Vogue Magazine, naming her and her mother “the world’s leading guardians of tatreez”. Wafa currently resides in Washington, D.C. To learn more about the Tatreez & Tea project, go to www.tatreezandtea.com or follow on Instagram @tatreezandtea.

Photograph/Headshot Credit: Carlos Khalil Guzman, 2020