Right of Return

My latest work is this piece which honours the struggle of the millions of Palestinian families who were forced to leave their homes during the Nakba in 1948/49. They and their descendants continue to demand their right to return to their homeland.

The work features three keys, all based on images of old Palestinian keys. The key has become a wonderful symbol of the Right of Return and the wider campaign for Justice for Palestine. Above and to the side of the keys are three sections with traditional Palestinian embroidery motifs.

The two rectangles are filled with the Mountains of Jerusalem motif. While the other square section features two motifs. The top and bottom of this section has a variation on the Cypress Tree motif, while in the middle is the Heart motif.

The heart motif is from the Art of Palestinian Embroidery by Leila El Khalidi. The other two motifs are from Palestinian Embroidery Motifs – A Treasury of Stitches 1850 – 1950 by Margarita Skinner in association with Widad Kamel Kawar.

The fabric for this piece is a 14 count Aida in white. All the threads bar two are pearl cotton, from the Anchor range, apart from one from DMC. A small amount of other threads were used in stitching the keys – a watercolour from Caron in Flame and a brown Paterna wool thread.

As with most traditional Palestinian embroidery the whole piece is stitched with cross stitches.

For this work I used a formal design of two squares and two rectangles. I first saw this particular composition as part of the exhibition: Images of the Heart – Japanese Ink Traces and Calligraphy, in Zurich way back in 2012. Unfortunately photos were forbidden, so I had to make do with a very rough sketch of the composition. In the original the two rectangles and one of the squares were simply filled in shades of grey. The lower square had some drawing in it, but I cannot remember what this was.

Suishû T. Klopfenstein-Arii was the main artist for the exhibition and you can visit her homepage here. This has a link to images of some of her work.