Development of Palestinian leadership of the Palestinian History Tapestry Project.
Dear Supporters and Readers of the PHT Newsletter,
2021 is the 10th anniversary of the Palestinian History Tapestry Project. The Tapestry currently consists of over 100 embroidered panels recording an insufficiently appreciated history of Palestine and Palestinians, and it seems likely to be the largest collection of illustrative embroidery ever produced by Palestinian stitchers.
£43,000 has been raised through donations and sales of work to pay 46 embroiderers. Everyone else connected to the Project volunteers their time and contributions.
I am writing to let you know about changes that have been proposed to enable the Palestinian History Tapestry Project to build on its substantial achievements over the past 10 years. In October 2020 I wrote to members of the Project Steering Committee to say that I had decided that I should step down as co-chair of the Project, and that I had met with Jehan Alfarra (my co-chair) to see how we should go forward. We had discussed the advantages of Jehan having another young Palestinian co-chair, and we agreed that this provided an opportunity to establish unambiguously Palestinian leadership of the Project.
Jehan subsequently convened a small working group of Palestinians. This has met on two occasions to consider possible future arrangements for the Project, and has produced proposals. The working group also suggested that Ibrahim Muhtadi (our designer colleague, who lives in Gaza) should join Jehan as a co-chair to replace me. I am delighted to report that Ibrahim agreed to fulfil this role and members of the Steering Committee have welcomed this proposal unanimously.
The Palestinian History Tapestry Project has been very dear to me and I have no intention of stepping down completely. Specifically, I would like to continue working with the five field coordinators in commissioning additional panels. However, I feel that it’s time for younger people, but more importantly Palestinian people, to lead the Project into the future. Your support for the new leadership will be much appreciated.
With best wishes
PHT Project Founder
A message from the new PHT project co-chairs
We would like to start by expressing our immense appreciation and gratitude to Jan Chalmers for bringing this very remarkable project, which has been a collaboration of love and solidarity, to life and for all her hard work and dedication to it over the years.
As Palestinians, we see culture as a very important and fundamental element in the preservation of our identity and heritage. Using skilled traditional embroidery, the Palestinian History Tapestry is a beautiful way of preserving and telling the story of the Palestinian people, their history, their traditions and their struggle under Israeli occupation.
While it saddens us that Jan has decided to step down as co-chair, we hope that with her ongoing support, we will be able to carry the project forward and we very much look forward to presenting this unique and vital history and art project to the world and giving it our all.
Pending legal and business advice, we hope to be able to bring the beautiful illustrations and designs of the tapestry’s various embroidered panels, which span different eras in the course of the history of Palestine, to the homes and lives of everyone who is interested in Palestinian art and history. From home accessories to clothing and gifts, our aim is to be able to transfer the PHT designs onto products available for supporters to purchase worldwide in the near future. We believe this would be a great step forward that would spread awareness about the project while providing income to Palesitnian women and artisans as well as sustaining the project in the long-run.
Jihan Alfarra & Ibrahim Muhtadi
PHT project co-chairs
PHT Project in Australia
In February 2021, a group of people gathered to share their love and support for Palestine and Palestinian heritage.
The meeting was organised by Eman, a Palestinian who lives in Australia, to raise awareness about the Palestinian History Tapestry Project among Palestinians in Australia.
Eman introduced the Project, how it started, what its aims are, and how people can help to support it. The talk was well-received by attendees, who appreciated the idea of the Project, especially considering the current circumstances in Palestine.
As the situation of COVID-19 in Australia is becoming stable at the moment and face to face meetings are slowly coming back, we plan to hire a stall to talk to people about Palestine and particularly this Project in upcoming multicultural festivals.
Palestinian embroiderers will continue to be commissioned to stitch additional illustrative panels relevant to events and themes, from the Neolithic period to the present. The latest addition to the tapestry is the Mona Lisa of Galilee and the cover page of a Palestinian passport.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
People often ask “How can I help?” We need funding, and this is mainly provided through donations and the sale of Palestinian artefacts, such as embroidery and carved olive wood. A wide-ranging selection of these items, all from Palestine, are available for purchase, as are limited-edition Giclée prints of selected Tapestry panels. Raising general awareness of the Project can be promoted through talks, articles, exhibitions, and presentations.
Click here to donate. All donations are used to support the Palestinian History Tapestry Project, and to commission additional designs and embroidery.