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Exhibition celebrates Palestinian heritage, handicraft skills of refugee women

By Anna Rice - Oct 14,2021 - Last updated at Oct 14,2021

A scene from the 11th Palestinian Cultural Exhibition at the Jordanian Construction Contractors Association on Thursday (Photo by Anna Rice)

AMMAN — The 11th Palestinian Cultural Exhibition kicked off on Thursday, showcasing Palestinian heritage through art, clothing and food.

The exhibition, titled “Guardians of Palestinian Culture” was organised by the Palestinian Culture Centre, alongside the Palestine embassy in Amman and the Jordanian Association of Jordanian Construction Contractors. 

At centre stage of the exhibition is art and clothing made by Palestinian women living in Jordanian refugee camps in partnership with volunteers at the centre. 

“Our first objective is to support the women in the camps. They come to the cultural centre weekly or monthly, depending on the size of their project, and we provide them with the materials and guidance needed to embroider these pieces,” Lubnah Budeiri, a volunteer from the Palestinian Culture Centre, told The Jordan Times.

“The women work at home among their children and when they are done, we pay them well. Many of these women are now able to provide for their families and pay for higher education for their children,” she added. 

The second objective of the exhibition and the work of the cultural centre is to “preserve the Palestinian culture”, according to Samira Darras, who has worked as a volunteer at the centre since 1992. 

“We want to promote our embroidery, it keeps our heritage and culture alive,” she said.

People from different cultures attend the exhibition each year, including Palestinians who want to “celebrate their culture”, and those from other cultures who wish to learn about it, according to Budeiri.

“I like to see our traditional embroidery. My grandmother made art like this in the past, and she taught me too,” Abeer Banat, a young Jordanian of Palestinian heritage, told The Jordan Times.

She added that it is a way to “protect our heritage and teach the younger generations”.

In addition to the pieces crafted by Palestinian women from refugee camps in Jordan, some projects were completed in partnership Orient Spirit Development, a local NGO providing support to people with learning disabilities. 

Art and ceramics were also brought to the exhibition from Hebron, highlighting the creative talents of Palestinians residing in their home country.

According to Budeiri, this exhibition has been different to those before it. Not only is it the first since the pandemic started, but it is the first without the guidance of founder and organiser of the cultural centre and exhibition, Sihaam Abu Ghazali, who passed away earlier this year.

“I hope she is proud of us. It feels as if she is here with us during this event,” Budeiri said.

The exhibition will be taking place at the Jordanian Construction Contractors Association until Saturday, October 16, from 10am until 7:30pm each day.

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