Craft and Folk Art Museum to Host the Munayyer Collection
"Sovereign Threads: A History of Palestinian
Embroidery" will open to the public at the
Craft and Folk Art Museum in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 15, 2006. Coming less
than three months after the successful exhibition
"Threads of Tradition: Palestinian Bridal Costumes",
Sovereign Threads is the latest of PHF activities to show the American public
and our own Arab-Americans the beauty of Palestinian embroidery, motifs and
symbols stitched on these stunning garments representing now-vanished
Palestinian villages, and the women that wrote Palestinian history with needle
The exhibit includes selections from the pristine collections
of the Palestinian Heritage Foundation and that of Hanan and Farah Munayyer.
This historic display is the first of its kind in a Los Angeles museum and comes
almost twelve years after "Out of the East" exhibited for three months at the Mingei Museum of Folk
Art at La Jola, San Diego.
Items on display include dresses representing Bethlehem,
villages around Jerusalem, Hebron region, Ramallah region, Jaffa region, Gaza, Galilee,
and the Southern and Coastal regions. In addition to the dresses, there are veils,
headpieces, jackets and jewelry. Complementing the antique garments on display
are contemporary cross stitch embroidery in the form of pillows, wall hanging,
runners, scarves and other items, made by young women of the Palestinian
refugees of In'aash in Lebanon.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Grace Nguyen Samantha Rader
323-937-4230 ex. 31 323-821-5544
HISTORIC PALESTINIAN EXHIBITION
OPENS AT CAFAM
July 16 – September 17, 2006
The Craft and Folk Art Museum presents “Sovereign
Threads: A History of Palestinian Embroidery”, the first museum
exhibition of Palestinian embroidery and costumes in Los Angeles. This historic
exhibition addresses the struggle to sustain a cultural heritage and identity
despite a displaced and fragmented society. Featured will be costumes from
different villages in the regions of historic (pre-1948) Palestine including
Ramallah, Jerusalem (Al Qods), Bethlehem and Galilee (Al Jalil), from the
collection of Farah and Hanan Munayyer, founders of the Palestinian Heritage
Foundation. Contemporary embroidered works, using old traditional motifs,
adapted to modern designs, created by The Association for the Development of
Palestinian Camps (INAASH) and embroidered by women in refugee camps in Lebanon
will also be displayed and available for sale in support of human services.
CAFAM has partnered with The Association for the Development of
Palestinian Camps (INAASH), founded in Lebanon in 1969 to improve the living
conditions in the camps by creating jobs for women and preserving the
Palestinian national heritage.
Costumes featured in this exhibition will focus on bridal dresses,
prepared several years before the bride’s engagement, worn at the wedding, and
throughout the marriage on ceremonial occasions. Each cluster of villages has
its own style of traditional costume; the specific colors, stitches, and
patterns in the dress easily distinguish it from those of a different region.
The costumes on display date back to the late 19th- early 20th centuries. The
bridal dresses and accompanying headpieces and jewelry were produced during the
1860’s to the 1940’s. Textile arts have been of unique importance in the Middle
East since antiquity. From the pre-biblical era and with each passing phase of
history, the tradition of spinning, weaving, dyeing and embroidery has been held
in high esteem. The effects of modernization combined with war and on-going
conflict have threatened the continuity of this legacy.
Although the majority of Palestinian women and others today wear modern
dress, many enjoy wearing an embroidered jacket, abaya, shawl or scarf for
special occasions. Old patterns are now kept alive in items for house decoration
such as cushions, tablecloths, wall hangings etc. Such contemporary items
created by INAASH and embroidered by women living in refugee camps in Lebanon
will be shown. INAASH was founded by a group of Lebanese and Palestinian women
who foresaw the necessity of preserving Palestinian cultural traditions after
their displacement. The Association’s “Embroidery Project” creates jobs for
women living in camps and supports their economic independence in very difficult
circumstances. Proceeds from the sale of these items will also go to support
INAASH Kindergartens and Youth Centers in the refugee camps.
Huguette Caland, artist and INAASH co-founder, who now lives and works in
her Venice, CA home studio has been instrumental in organizing this
international collaboration, “The motifs in Palestinian costumes and embroidery
are some of the most beautiful in the world and have influenced textile and
fashion designs for years.” muses Caland. “Sovereign Threads” is a testament to
the power of folk art in the preservation of cultural identity. As a nation in
waiting, an expression of Palestinian culture preserves not only their history
but, also guarantees their future identity” adds CAFAM Director, Maryna
The exhibition co-curated by Hanan Munayyer and INAASH opens on July 16,
2006 and runs until October 17, 2006. An opening reception for members and VIP
guests will be held on July 15th. This exhibition is funded by Folk Art Council
of the Craft and Folk Art Museum, Ibrahim AlHusseini, in honor of his father,
Ameen AlHusseini and the City Of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.
Craft and Folk Art Museum:
The Craft and Folk Art Museum (CAFAM) is a Los Angeles nonprofit cultural
arts organization dedicated to the public presentation and preservation of folk
arts and contemporary craft. Founded in 1965, originally as “The Egg and The
Eye” by the late Edith Wyle, who passionately promoted traditional artisans and
the virtue of handmade art the Museum opened in 1974. As a local Museum with
global reach, CAFAM seeks to promote international goodwill and global
understanding among its citizens. The Museum works to preserve and strengthen
the folk culture of our community based on its believe that the quality of urban
life is directly related to the vitality and diversity of viewpoints and
High and low-resolution digital images are available upon request.
Craft and Folk Art Museum, 5814 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90036
Information: 323-937-4230 / www.cafam.org Museum Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, and
Friday 11 am – 5 pm Thursday 11 am – 7 pm Saturday and Sunday 12 – 6 pm Museum
Admission: General $5.00 / Students and Seniors 3.00 / Members and Children
under 12 Free / Free 1st Wednesday of month
PHF Sponsors Special Event to Introduce
American Task Force on Palestine
On Sunday, December 4, 2005 the Palestinian Heritage
Foundation held an introductory afternoon to introduce the Washington based
American Task Force on Palestine to the New Jersey American-Arab community.
Several of the ATFP Board members, including Ziad Asali, MD, President, Mrs.
Naila Asali co-founder and Board member, Ra'fat Dajani, Executive Director,
Hussein Ibish, Ph.D, Executive Director of the Hala Maksoud Foundation attended this special event. Other Board members present were Ameen
Stetieh of Washington DC, Saliba Sarsar, Tawfiq Barqawi and Farah Munayyer of
New Jersey. About 100 people participated in this
PHF special guests to the evening were, his Excellency Afif
Safieh, Head of Palestine Mission to the United States and Mrs.
Crystal Safieh, and his Excellency Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine
to the United Nations in New York.
Farah Munayyer cofounder and Vice President of the
Palestinian Heritage Foundation MCd the event that lasted for three hours.
Nativity Scene at Antiochian Village for
On Thursday, Dcember 29, 2005 the Heritage Museum at
Antiochian Village near Ligonier, Pennsylvania opened its doors during Orthodox
Fellowship Week for guided tours. Nearly 30 college students chose to visit
"Threads of Tradition: Palestinian Traditional Costumes" where they were able to
view the incredible textiles and discuss the art and culture with Museum
Curator, Shirley Iscrupe. The 35 minute videotape "Palestinian Costumes and
Embroidery: A Precious Legacy", was also made available for viewing in the Ajjar
Auditorium just off the museum lobby.
In addition, conference attendees could view the Nativity
Scene in the Museum Rotunda, and look through the glass walls at the lighted
display area. The Nativity Scene included men with Palestinian garb and a woman
with Palestinian embroidered thob along with sheep.
The Crosbys Donate Second Antique Palestinian Dress to PHF
On Saturday, February 11, 2006 PHF received a phone call from
Dr. Elise Crosby of Arlington, Wyoming informing the Foundation that her
mother-in-law Mrs. Martha Mullin of Los Angeles had recently passed away
and that Dr. Crosby had found a second Palestinian embroidered dress in Mrs.
Mullin's apartment. This second dress, a Bethlehem Malak or royal, was also purchased from the collection of Bertha Spafford Vester at the American
Colony Hotel in Jerusalem during Mrs. Mullin's trip to Palestine in 1966.
Many years back Mrs. Mullin decided to give her
daughter-in-law, Dr. Elise Crosby one of the dresses as a gift. Dr. Crosby kept
the dress for years until she donated it to the Foundation in 2004. At the time
Dr. Crosby was not aware that her mother-in-law had purchased a second dress while
visiting Palestine in the mid sixties. After passing away to her Lord in CA, the Crosbys found the second embroidered costume in Mrs. Mullin's home and decided
to donate it to PHF.
We at PHF would like to thank Dr. Crosby for her generosity
and we promise to keep Mrs. Martha Mullin's name alive each time we display
these two unique museum quality Palestinian dresses.
This Bethlehem Malak of 1910 to 1920, is donated by Mr. and
Mrs. Taylor Crosby in memory of Mrs. Martha Mullin who loved Palestine.
Malak or Royal dress donated in memory of
Mrs. Martha Mullin.
Below article published in PHF Newsletter of June 2004.
The Crosbys Donate Antique Palestinian Dress to PHF
On April 23, 1997 Dr. Elise Crosby of Arlington, Wyoming,
wrote to the Palestinian Heritage Foundation about an antique Palestinian dress
given to her by her mother-in-law, Mrs. Martha Mullin. Along with the letter Dr.
Crosby included photos of the dress to help in evaluating its historical value.
At the time, Dr. Crosby considered donating the dress to the Foundation at a
On January 26, 2004, Dr. Elise Crosby contacted PHF with
good news. She wrote "It is with pleasure that we donate this dress to the
Palestinian Heritage Foundation. It was purchased in 1966 by Mrs. Martha Mullin
of Los Angeles, from the collection of Bertha Spafford Vester at the American
Colony Hotel in Jerusalem, Palestine. The Crosbys are delighted to return this
dress to the Palestinian people."
Dr. Elise Crosby received her Ph.D. in Arabic from the
Department of Near Eastern Languages Yale University in 1987. Mr. Taylor
Crosby received an M.A. in Arabic from UCLA in 1977, and a Master's degree in
public and private management from Yale University in 1979. Mr. Crosby has spent
most of his professional career in Human Resources Development and Training in
Yemen, Egypt, Oman and Kuwait.
In a response letter sent in 1997 by Shelagh Weir, former
curator of the Middle Eastern Department at the London Museum of Mankind to the
Crosbys, Shelagh described the dress: "it is from the villages in the
Hebron Hills or the southeast coastal plain. Since it was from the collection of
Bertha Vester, it is certainly a museum piece. Yes, I certainly think it
deserves to be in a museum collection, and since we have several similar pieces,
I suggest that you might like to approach a private Palestinian foundation in
the States who are enthusiastically building up a collection of their national
costumes, and seem to be doing a very good job of getting them exhibited in
various parts of the U.S. The person to write to is Farah Munayyer, Palestinian
Heritage Foundation, West Caldwell, New Jersey 07006.
The Foundation would like to thank Elise and Taylor Crosby
for their generosity and Shelagh Weir who visited the Foundation in 1996, for
everything she has done on behalf of the Palestinian art of embroidery project.
Munayyers Adds Oldest Bethlehem "Malak" dress to Collection
The Munayyers have just added to its unique
collection what is being considered the oldest dress from the Bethlehem area in
its possession. The multi color fabric with a very
simple chestpiece was originally bought from E-Bay by a friend of PHF who was
kind and generous to exchange it for an embroidered dress offered from the
In the Mail:
Happy New Year! Finally got to Bolivar to see the exhibit; and are
very glad we did. I loved the clothes and my husband liked the artifacts
(furniture, trays, etc). Can't imagine the time spent making these gorgeously
Georgia Wallar, New Jersey
My dear Friends,
I am happy, proud and grateful. Many many thanks for your work and
achievements and for sending me news. CONGRATULATIONS! always.
I hope to see the exhibit. I am sure it is an event not to miss. Maybe we
could organize a group from here to make the trip.
Diana Washington DC
I am very interested in purchasing a copy of the video on Palestinian
costume. It would be a strong support for my historical research in the fabrics
and costumes of Palestine. Could you please let me know how I can order a copy?
I have book marked the website for future reference. Thank you for your support
Professor Rory Scanlon
Arts and Communications
I checked your website, and was very impressed with it, especially the
exhibit section. Your collection keeps growing every time I check it out
on-line: congratulations. You are doing an outstanding job of preserving
Palestinian culture and disseminating information about it.
Looking forward to the LA exhibit.
I used your site for a project for school. This site is awesome, and I love
it. I got all my information from here. I didn't have to go anywhere else. It
was so easy to get information.
THANK YOU SO MUCH!_!!_!!_!!_!!_!!_!!_!
Palestinian Costumes & Embroidery:
A Precious Legacy
A Video Review By Shira
For the video review by Shira click the link below: