Embroidery and the Intifada: dress and resistance in Palastine
with Dr Rachel Dedman, Jameel Curator of Contemporary Art from the Middle East, Victoria and Albert Museum
on Thursday 30 January 2020 from 5.30 pm to 7 pm
SOAS, 10 Thornhaugh St, Bloomsbury, London WC1H 0XG Room 4426 (4th floor, Main Building)
Convenor: Professor Anna Contadini
Abstract: This talk examines the role of embroidered dress in Palestinian resistance. It traces Palestinian embroidery’s adoption as a symbol of national heritage after the 1948 Nakba, and its subsequent politicisation. During the First Intifada, 1987–1993, Palestinian flags and colours were banned in public, so ‘Intifada Dresses’ were made by women and worn at protests. Bearing motifs of doves, rifles, and symbols of political parties, the dresses rendered women’s bodies sites of resistance. For men in Palestine, embroidery became a licit practice only as political detainees in Israeli prisons; Palestinian militancy has long been marked and mediated by embroidery, for both genders.
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