Ancient, intimate and political, embroidery is the foremost cultural material of Palestine. Practised for centuries, politicised in national struggle and critically addressed by contemporary artists, embroidery in Palestine has been intimately connected to shifting social and political realities in the Middle East over the last 100 years. The garments on display in this new exhibition will span the 20th century, embodying female labour and resilience, and making manifest pivotal moments in Palestine’s recent history, such as the impact of the 1948 Nakba and the First Intifada (1987–1993). The exhibition will include work by contemporary artists who use thread to explore labour, gender and displacement, and to reflect the experiences of Palestinian people today. The exhibition also includes political posters, archival photographs and commissioned films by artist Maeve Brennan who interviews Palestinian women who practise embroidery.

Curated by Rachel Dedman, the exhibition is organised by Kettle’s Yard and the Whitworth, University of Manchester, where the exhibition will travel.