Join us at for a special talk in the Kettle’s Yard house with Rachel Dedman, curator of our exhibition Material Power: Palestinian Embroidery. Rachel will trace the evolution of embroidered dress in Palestine over the last century: from embroidery’s historical traditions to its politicisation after 1948, its role in resistance and its significance today.
£10 (£8 Friends, £5 Students), booking required
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About Material Power: Palestinian Embroidery
Material Power: Palestinian Embroidery explores the historical life and contemporary significance of Palestinian embroidery. This ancient and beautiful practice remains an important living tradition and the most prominent cultural material of Palestine today. Curated by Rachel Dedman, the exhibition looks at the ways in which embroidery, primarily undertaken by women, has evolved through a century of turbulent history for the Palestinian people.
This is the first major exhibition of Palestinian embroidery in the UK for over 30 years, with more than 40 dresses and embroidered objects on display lent from important private collections in Jordan and Palestine. Every dress tells a story: whether about the lives of women with their astonishing skills and creativity in the early decades of the last century, or the trauma of displacement as a result of the war of 1948. And reflecting the decades since: in which the vibrant colours and patterns of Palestinian embroidery, now often created for a global market by groups of women, have become symbolic of nationhood, memory, and resistance. Alongside historic dresses are artworks by five contemporary artists, films of embroiderers speaking about their work and rarely seen archive material.
Material Power: Palestinian Embroidery is organised by Kettle’s Yard in collaboration with the Whitworth, The University of Manchester, where it will travel from 24 November 2023 – 7 April 2024.
The exhibition is generously supported by The Orange Tree Trust and the Material Power: Palestinian Embroidery Supporters Circle.
FREE, come along
About the speaker
Rachel Dedman is a curator, writer, and art historian. From 2013-2019 Rachel was an independent curator based in Beirut, Lebanon, curating projects for artists and institutions across the Middle East and Europe. In Beirut she developed her specialism in the cultural and political histories of Palestinian textiles and dress. In 2016, she curated the exhibition At the Seams: A Political History of Palestinian Embroidery at Dar el-Nimer in Beirut. An expanded version of the exhibition, entitled Labour of Love: New Approaches to Palestinian Embroidery was presented at the Palestinian Museum in the West Bank in 2018.
In November 2019 Rachel joined the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, as Jameel Curator of Contemporary Art from the Middle East. Recent projects for the V&A include Beirut Mapped, a writing commissioning platform for Lebanese artists, and Jameel Prize: Poetry to Politics, an exhibition featuring the work of contemporary artists and designers from the global south. Rachel holds a First-class degree in History of Art from St John’s College, Oxford, and was the Von Clemm Postgraduate Fellow at Harvard University where she specialised in art from the Middle East.
Image: Polaroid, 1973, from the archive of Inaash Al-Mukhayim. Courtesy of INAASH.