Newsletter, Summer 2003 (Xmas 2002)

Symbolic defiance: Palestinian costume and embroidery since 1948 travelling exhibition installation, showing intifada textiles designed by the ANAT Workshop, Yarmouk Refugee Camp, Syria, displayed at the First World Congress of Middle Eastern Studies, Mainz, Germany, 2002 (courtesy: Jeni Allenby)


Letter from the Archive's Director

Palestinian diaspora community events

"Hidden Palestine" cultural evening, Byron Bay

"I Remember 1948", Sydney

Al-PHAN (Palestinian Humanities and Arts Now), Chicago

Palestinian solidarity group news and other related issues

National launch of Australians for Justice and Peace for the Palestinian People

Avigail Abarbanal - "Open Letter to All Israelis"

Australians Against Racism material for sale

Archive collection news

Recent acquisitions, donors, long term lender and exhibition acknowledgments

Recent Palestinian costume and textile acquisitions and donations

Recent long term loans to the costume and textile collections

Recent costumes and textile acquisitions and donations from other regions of the Middle East

Recent acquisitions to the Archive's research library

Other Archive news

New Archive Friends

Archive recent exhibitions and reviews

Forthcoming exhibitions

Ongoing research projects and public inquiries

Project sponsorship - Palestinian films

Educational and public programs

Recent and forthcoming Archive publications and articles

Archive exhibition music and Palestinian music in general

Palestinian village and refugee camp embroidery project and other women's self help handicraft project news:

US sources of refugee camp project products

Lebwa's Association for the Revival of the Family

Palestinian Embroidery Society of Jordan (Indigo Traders)

Other US based distributors of Palestinian embroidery

Refugee camp and handicraft project products in stock at the Archive

Bali Appeal

Other news


Letter from the Archive's director

Welcome to this latest Archive Newsletter, and to 2003 in general. On behalf of the Archive I would like to wish all our newsletter readers, and Archive Friends, a safe and peaceful year.

The Palestine Costume Archive has had a very busy year. Our five travelling exhibitions continue to tour worldwide, with extremely successful 2002 installations including Portraits without names: Palestinian costume and Secret Splendours: women's costume in the Arab world at Museum Victoria in Melbourne, Australia, Portraits without names: Palestinian costume at the Grafton Regional Gallery, also in Australia, and Symbolic defiance: Palestinian costume since 1948 at the First World Congress of Middle Eastern Studies in Germany (you will find a review of this a little later in this Newsletter).

The Archive presented papers on Palestinian cultural heritage at several international conferences, including the First World Congress of Middle Eastern Studies (Mainz University), the 8th Symposium of the Textile Society of America in Northampton, USA, and the Asian Arts Society of Australia's "arts and Symbolism" symposium in Melbourne. The Archive was also invited to present a paper and display Symbolic defiance: Palestinian costume since 1948 at the "Conflict and Culture: War and Terrorism in the Modern Age" conference organised by the University of Newcastle, Australia, but was unable to attend due to a flight re-scheduling error. Copies of all conference papers are available upon request.

The Archive has also undertaken to produce monographs on Palestinian embroidery, and Palestinian cultural heritage since 1948, for American and European publishers. Please contact us if you would like further details of these, or would like to be advised when they are available to the public.

The Archive continues to work closely with (the very few!) institutions with similar goals to our own. We are now involved with several joint curatorial and collection projects with the Stichting Textile Research Centre in Leiden in the Netherlands, which you can read about in this newsletter. The Archive and the Stichting are currently involved in an exchange of collection material (for a list of items incoming to the Archive's collection from the Stichting, click here) as well as working together on several exhibition projects related to Yemeni and Omani costume. Another museum close to our heart is the Tareq Rajab Museum in Kuwait, who have recently published Costumes from the Arab world by director Jehan Rajab. Other Tareq Rajab Museum publications, including Silver Jewellery from Oman and Failaka Island - Ikaros of the Arabian Gulf, as well as Jehan's Palestinian costume published in the UK in 1989, will soon be available from the Archive for sale. All these publications can also be purchased online direct from the Tareq Rajab Museum's website.

During my overseas trip last year, to attend two of the conferences above, I also visited several European and American museums and private collections of Palestinian costume, as part of the Archive's long term research project to track down what Palestinian costume and cultural heritage has been preserved, and where, and in what condition. I also met with museum curators interested in displaying the Archive's travelling exhibitions, and have now confirmed several venues for the 2004/5 American and Canadian tour of Portraits without names: Palestinian costume. This trip provided a wonderful opportunity to meet old friends again, as well as make so many new ones, and I would like to thank all who helped make it possible, as well as those who helped make it so memorable, including John Karkar QC, Sonja Karkar and the wonderfully dedicated Women For Palestine in Melbourne, Robin Garner, Shelia Paine, Janet Starkey, Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, Dale Liles, Michel Mousabeck, Hanan and Farah Munayyer, Bobbie Sumberg, Joy Totah Hilden, Daliah Massehian, and Lois and Paul White. We also thank those who preferred their help to remain anonymous.

Jeni Allenby with Joy Totah Hilden, San Francisco, October 2002.  Visit Joy's fascinating bedouin weaving site.

This year the Archive will continue to document international museum collections, but will also continue to provide curatorial and collection management assistance to small museums and collections of Palestinian cultural heritage both within the Palestinian region and out in the Palestinian communities of the diaspora. The Archive provides these collections, many of which are under threat, with collection cataloguing, photographic records, documentation and research, as well as textile conservation, storage and display expertise. If you know of any collections that need our help - or if you would like to help the Archive to continue fund this project - please contact us for further details.

We will also continue our work with Palestinian refugee camp and village embroidery projects (please see our last Newsletter regarding current problems facing these). In response to enquires this Newsletter contains a section on where and how these project's products can be acquired in the United States. For those of you not based in the USA please refer to the page on our website which deals with these projects, for information on how to track them down in other countries, or how to find them online. We would also like to advise that Palestinian refugee camp project products are now available at several American museum shops, including the Textile Museum in Washington DC and the International Museum of Folk Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Please contact us if your museum shop is interested in similar material.

For local Australian news, the Archive would like to draw your attention to the "I remember 1948" project organised by a Sydney-based collective of Arab artists and activists, which is outlined later in this Newsletter. A major Archive fundraising event, "Hidden Palestine" has been organised in Byron Bay in northern NSW for late February, which promises to be a truly amazing evening, with the wonderful Maha Hindi dancing. In March the Archive will be installing a display at Bankstown Library in Sydney as part of Sydney's 2003 Arab Carnival, and (in the form of myself and Archive Education Officer Reeda Kassis, a distinguished member of the Sydney Palestinian community) will also be providing educational programs for the Canberra Museum and Art Gallery's Treasures of Palestine exhibition, organised as part of Canberra's 2003 Multicultural Festival. For regular educational/public programs, in Australia and overseas, please see the FAQ and Other Services Offered by the Archive pages of our website, or email us at the Archive.

The Archive has received a new shipment of exquisite beaded necklaces from the Tarabina Arts and Crafts Center in Nuweiba in the southern Sinai Desert in Egypt. We have also been acquiring Palestinian memorabilia products (including Palestinian flag metal and cloth badges and magnets, and lovely metal badges featuring a Palestinian woman in traditional dress waving a flag) through Australian company Sambar Trading. Before Sambar Trading set up their website, finding Palestinian and Lebanese flag products was a time consuming and expensive process for Australians, so its great to finally be able to buy these products close to home!

Palestinian diaspora community events

HIDDEN PALESTINE: a journey from the Palestinian past to the present - Byron Bay, Australia

Members of the Palestinian and Jewish community in Byron Bay, northern NSW, Australia, are planning a fund raising cultural evening on behalf of the Archive, on Sunday 23 February. The following is taken from the event's press release.

"This unique cultural event will feature Middle Eastern singing and dancing (including well known dancer Maha Hindi) and Jeni Allenby, Director of the Palestine Costume Archive, speaking on the evocative history of Palestinian costume and embroidery, illustrating how these traditions have long reflected the culture and identity of the Palestinian people.

Jeni's audio/visual presentation will reveal the beauty and loss of Palestinian costume and cultural heritage over the last hundred years, as well as highlight the recent revival of this rich heritage. A short video on Palestinian refugee embroidery projects will be shown and products from projects in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan will be auctioned and available for sale, together with Palestine Costume Archive publications, postcards, posters and other Palestinian memorabilia on the night.

VENUE: Byron Bay Community Centre Studio Space

TIME: 7pm - 10.30pm

COST: $12 full / $10 concession

DATE: Sunday 23rd February 2003

For more details contact: Maha Hindi (02) 66807706

This is a non-profit fundraiser ­ donations welcomed to enable the Palestine Costume Archive to continue its invaluable work"

The Archive thanks Maha Hindi Productions, Maha Hindi and Suzi Rosedale for their wonderful work organising this event.

The "I Remember 1948" project, Sydney, Australia

"I Remember 1948" is a Sydney-based collective of Arab artists and activists interested in freedom and justice for Palestine and its people.

The organisers write: "We seek to raise awareness about Palestine, the people who live there and the refugees who don’t. We also hope to explore the many issues surrounding Palestine such as the politics of homeland, the inalienable right of return and the search for securing basic human rights. Current "I Remember 1948" projects involve the sharing and recording of Palestinian oral histories, a video documentary and an art exhibition commemorating half a century of Al Nakba (The Catastrophe). These projects hope to contribute to a worldwide consciousness required to help free the people of Palestine".

Arab Australian artists are invited to interpret perspectives of Al Nakba, as told by Palestinian elders, in any medium. A selection of artists' proposals will be chosen to produce works for the "I Remember 1948" exhibition in May 2003 at Sydney's The Performance Space.

The project's aims are to:

  1. share Palestinian oral history of Al Nakba with the broader community, especially younger generations.

  2. encourage community participation and self- representation.

  3. develop contemporary Arab Australian cultural production.

  4. develop creative links between memory, oral history, political and cultural heritage and contemporary arts

See the project's website for further details.

Al-PHAN (Palestinian Humanities and Arts Now), Chicago

al-PHAN is a Chicago-based not-for-profit organization, founded in 2001, and dedicated to promoting the many artistic talents of Palestinians and artists influenced by the Palestinian Experience. The organization's name comes from the Arabic word al-phan meaning "the arts" and is an acronym in English for Palestinian Humanities and Arts Now.

Their events planning is done year-round and focuses on fostering greater understanding within American society of this unique collective history. In order to convey these experiences and perspectives they have chosen the arts, because "it can serve as both a means to illustrate profound events in our lives, as well as present the growth and diversification of a culture in diaspora. Through consistent events al-PHAN will not only proliferate understanding of the Palestinian Experience, but will also provide a solid platform for both established and emerging artists to display their efforts. We believe that exposing people to this rich heritage in the arts and humanities will help to educate and enrich all of our lives".

The Archive would like to draw your attention to two new al PHAN's initiatives:

Nakba Journal of Experiences: Every Footstep Carries a Story Project

al-PHAN has a new project geared toward preserving the lived experiences of Palestinians leading up to, during, and after the Nakba.

Since the generation of Palestinians that most vividly recall the tragedy of 1948 and thereafter are aging, al-PHAN is taking the charge of documenting many of their stories in a Journal of Experiences. This journal will allow us to capture the many stories of dispossession and exile Palestinians experienced as a result of al-Nakba and subsequent occupations. All interested can submit their work directly to al-PHAN for consideration as a part of this project. Submissions can be written or illustrative pieces that deal directly with conveying the story of their personal experiences during and after al-Nakba. To learn more please visit the JEP site and click here.

Mind, Body, and Soul of Palestine Photo Journal

This fascinating exhibition is touring the United States during 2003.

al-PHAN's concept is a collection of 36 photographs, taken by three talented photographers, capturing the Mind, Body, and Soul of Palestine. This compilation contains works that illustrate the Palestinian people in their everyday lives (Mind), the city and landscapes of Palestine (Body), and the Palestinian people's struggle for self-determination and life under occupation (Soul).

The captivating imagery shows the essence of Palestine, vividly portraying the spirit of a vibrant people and culture in the context of their unique history. Featuring the work of photographers Andrew Courtney, Luke Powell, and Steve Sabella, this gallery production will contain framed and mounted photographs in both black & white and color prints. Each photograph will be accompanied by explanations written by the photographer that captured them.

To see the exhibition's touring schedule click here.

Palestinian solidarity group news and other related issues

National launch of Australians for Justice and Peace for the Palestinian People

The Archive is proud to be involved with the formation of a new national Australian solidarity group, Australian for Justice and Peace for the Palestinian People.

Australian for Justice and Peace for the Palestinian People has been formed to support the achievement of justice and peace in Palestine through an end to the occupation and the settlements in the West Bank and Gaza. The organisation is also calling for human rights to be respected in the region, for respect for religious freedom and for the implementation of United Nations resolutions calling for an end to the occupation and the right of return of Palestinian refugees.

The organisation has involvement from church people, people from the Jewish and Arab communities, as well as ordinary Australians. Members of the group participating in the launch included Mr Thorwald Lorenzen, current chair of the ACT Council of Churches and member of the Baptist church, Ms Avigail Abarbanel, psycho-therapist and former Israeli citizen, Bishop Pat Power of the Catholic church, Bishop George Browning of the Anglican church, Ms Diana Abdul Rahman, member of the Canberra Islamic community and Ms Kathryn Kelly, member of the ACT Greens.

Bishop Power said at the launch, which was held in the centre of Canberra the week before Xmas, "At this Christmas season, it saddens me greatly to know that the town of Bethlehem is a closed military zone, under almost constant curfew. Most people cannot get into or out of Bethlehem because of the Israeli military occupation and people are suffering enormously".

Ms Kelly said, "Australians for Justice and Peace for the Palestinian People want peace for all people in the region, including Israelis, but the fact of the military occupation and the resistance in the form of terrorism is denying both Palestinians and Israelis the peace they so desperately need. An end to the occupation and the Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Gaza are the steps necessary for peace - steps which are supported also by many Israelis."

Members of AJP in contemporary Palestinian dresses on loan from the Archive, at the national launch in Canberra the week before Xmas, 2002 (Canberra Times)


"More than 500 Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the occupied Palestinian Territories", said Ms Abarbanel, herself a former serving Israeli soldier. "Their example tells us that the current occupying force has no moral basis and must withdraw to allow the establishment of a Palestinian state", she concluded.

The organisation hopes to raise awareness of Australians regarding the injustice to the Palestinians resulting from the occupation and Israeli settlements in the Palestinian Territories, to also raise awareness of the history of Palestine, leading to the current occupation and seeks a recognition by the Australian government of the injustice to the Palestinians of the occupation and settlements.

The Archive provided examples of contemporary Palestinian dress for several members of the organization to wear at the launch. Several of these dresses were made by Palestinian designed Leila Jeryas, now in Amman, while others (which are for sale) were made for the Archive by Palestinian refugees in Jordan. 

Australian for Justice and Peace for the Palestinian People doe not yet have a website. Please contact the Archive for further details of meetings, educational programs and public actions.

Avigail Abarbanal - "Open Letter to All Israelis"

Courtesy Avigail's website

One of the speakers at the launch of Australian for Justice and Peace for the Palestinian People was Avigail Arbarbanal, and the Archive highly commends her website and writings to all Archive newsletter readers.

Avigail was born in Israel and migrated to Australia 11 years ago. She is a psychotherapist and counsellor. Since the start of the second Intifada, she has been speaking out in support of the Palestinian people and has published most of her writings on the subject on her website.

She writes: "I am not just a Jewish woman I am also a former Israeli. I grew up in Israel, served my two years in the army and have seen and experienced realities that are sometimes not clear to Jewish people who have not lived in Israel or who have just visited it for a short time. I also left my whole family behind, and as you can imagine I care deeply about their well-being and safety. I grew up in Israel learning the official version of history while at the same time witnessing and experiencing realities that didn't fit with that history.

The reason I am speaking up now is because of two big misconceptions in the West, and unfortunately also among many Jewish communities. One, is that the Palestinians and Israel are somehow equal forces in this conflict. The second is that Israelis are 'right' and can do no wrong, and that therefore anyone who criticises Israel must have an anti-Jewish (or antisemitic) agenda."

Avigail is known to many Australians for organizing National Headscarf Day, "a National Day of Solidarity with Muslim Women and a Protest Against Racially Motivated Attacks on Muslim Women in Australian Cities" held on Friday 27 November 2002.

Headscarf Day was organized "in solidarity with our Muslim sisters who have been the target of racially motivated attacks in Sydney recently. Traditional Muslim women are an easy target because their traditional dress makes them visible. Let us make them feel that they belong, and that they are protected, by helping them blend in. And let us send a message to the racist thugs who attack them that their behaviour is unacceptable…I have decided to organise Headscarf Day because with my background I simply cannot sit by and watch while Muslim people and women in particular are becoming the target of racism".

To read more about this project, the many Muslim groups who endorsed it, and Avigail's extremely interesting conclusions after the event, click here. Avigail's website is full of interesting articles, including some by Canberra based Palestinian Dr Obada Kayala. In particular, we commend to you her "Open Letter to All Israelis", which we believe should be compulsory reading for us all.

She begins:

"My dear Israeli brothers and sisters,

I am writing to you from faraway Canberra, the Capital of Australia. It is 2.30am and I got out of bed because I could no longer resist the persistent call of this letter to be written right now. It did not want to wait until morning.

I was once one of you. On my mother's side I am descended from Holocaust survivors. My grandmother lost two baby boys in the camps to hunger and disease. I was born and raised among you, your culture was my culture, your language my beloved language. I left you when I was 27 at the end of 1991 and migrated to Australia. I left because I was looking for an identity. One day I realised that although we have worked very hard in Israel to create a new Jewish identity, the truth is that we have not succeeded in moving very far from the identity of our persecuted ancestors. I realised that as an Israeli Jew I was still in essence defined by those who have hated the Jews. I could not go on living with an identity that was given to me by hatred and went away hoping to find a fresh and healthy identity for myself. It has been a difficult and painful journey emotionally but every tear and every moment of anguish and pain has been precious to me. They have given me back my life and have helped me find my purpose and identity.

My heart goes out to all of you these days. I see through the television screen the horror and destruction of the suicide bombings and other attacks by Palestinian militants. I send my deep condolences to all the families and friends of those who were killed and maimed in these attacks. I have very close family among you. The safety and well-being of my brother and his young family are particularly on my mind these days.

I know that from your point of view what the Palestinian extremists are doing is no different than what all other zorerim have always done to the Jews. It all seems like more of the same some kind of a horrible déja vu, does it not? I know what it felt like to live in Israel and believe that no one wants to let us live in peace. But my dear brothers and sisters I am writing to urge you, plead with you to open your minds and your hearts to the possibility that in fact what is happening to you now is not the same…"

We encourage all readers of this website to continue reading this letter.

Avigail has recently received much criticism from the Jewish lobby and others, condemning her recent activism (see her recently posted "Reflections on hate mail").

She writes on her website that since initiating National Headscarf Day she has "received hundreds of email messages from Muslim people all over the country, many on behalf of whole families, groups or organisations. The main message was that the Muslim community was deeply moved and relieved that someone was concerned about how they feel, and was prepared to stick up for them, particularly at a time when it is becoming unpopular to do so. From this perspective Headscarf Day was a resounding success! (I have no doubt that my family and I will be happy and healthy for the next fifty years at least, judging by the wonderful blessings and prayers that have been so generously showered upon us.)"

All of us at the Palestine Costume Archive hope these blessings and prayers, as well as our own, will continue to sustain and support her during this time.

Australians Against Racism material for sale

AAR recently held the 2002 Australia Is Refugees! Schools Competition, which has resulted in a lovely booklet featuring the nine winning stories and the highly commended lists, as well as judges comments and lists of sponsors and supporters. Australia Is Refugees! contains stories from Vietnam, Kosovo, one Bosnia, Afghanistan, Poland and Iraq. AAR wrote to the Archive "we would like to see these stories read throughout Australia, so please distribute news of them by word of mouth and by email" - so lets help them get these extraordinary stories out into Australia and the rest of the world.

Australia Is Refugees! is beautifully produced in magazine-format, with artwork donated by Australian artist Kate Durham, design by Helena Turinski, printed with the assistance of Resources for Courses, published by AAR with assistance from Hardie Grant Publishing, and edited by Heather Millar and wonderful Australian author Eva Sallis. It is for sale from the Archive for $15 AUD per copy (including postage), money which will go towards future AAR projects. AAR badges are also available from the Archive.

For further information visit the Australians Against Racism website.


New Archive Friends

The Archive would like to welcome the following new Friends:

Neville Black, Sydney

Iman Irhimeh, Melbourne

Sonja Karkar, Melbourne

Women For Palestine, Melbourne

Maranna Sears, Sydney
Bernice Lees, Canberra
Jenny Keenan, Perth

Michelle Tonissen, Melbourne

Ruth Clemens, Melbourne

Norma Pilling, Melbourne
Anonymous (x

If you are not officially an Archive Friend now would be a wonderful time to join! Join our Friends program today, and receive in return:

1) A year's subscription to our Newsletter, containing information on:

  • Archival ongoing research projects

  • Recent acquisitions and donations to the Archive's collections

  • Details of forthcoming exhibitions and educational programs

  • Details of new refugee camp embroidery project products

2) Access to the Archive's costume collection (both display and study collections)

3) Access and borrowing rights to the Archive's Research Library (a catalogue is available on our website)

4) Invitations and free passes to all Archive exhibition opening functions and special VIP and Archive Friend exhibition tours (if our exhibitions are not in your home region, please let us know the address details of friends in the area, and we will forward your invitations and free passes to them)

5) Access to curatorial, research and collection management expertise. Archive Friends may make up to three research requests to Archive curatorial and conservation staff per year on subjects ranging from the identification and dating of Middle Eastern or ethnographic textiles to private collection management advice

6) Copies of all Archive publications and exhibition material

For further information see our Friends section or  email us for an Archive Friends joining form.

Recent acquisitions and donations

Recent acquisitions and donations to the Archive's collection include everyday and ceremonial 19th and 20th century costumes, textiles and accessories from Palestine (pre and post 1948), Iran, Egypt (Sinai Desert and Bahriya Oasis), Egypt (modern urban), Syria (Saraqab, El Sukne and urban), Oman, Yemen, Afghanistan and Libya.

Images of all acquisitions, and further cataloguing and acquisition details, are available from the Archive.

The Archive would like to sincerely thank the following costume collection and research library donors, financial donors, and those who have greatly assisted the Archive in sourcing new acquisitions:

Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, Director, Stichting Textile Research Centre, Leiden

Jehan Rajab, Tareq Rajab Museum, Kuwait

Palestinian Heritage Foundation, New Jersey, USA

Iman Irhimeh, Melbourne

Frans Timmerman, Melbourne

Joy Totah Hilden, San Francisco

Michael Ladah, Ladah Foundation, USA

Carol Malt, USA

Joan Bowers, Sydney

Palestine Red Crescent Society, Gaza Strip

Penny Smith, Melbourne

Fay Plamka, Melbourne

Kathleen Gawler, Melbourne

Robbie Bartlett, Melbourne

Dr Fiona Hill, Melbourne

Lynneeta Darmody, Melbourne

Helena Ling, Melbourne

Linda Heapy and Kashgar, Sydney

Sally Brokensha, Adelaide

Michelle Woodward, USA

Sheila Paine, UK

Hebron Poor Women's Embroidery Project, West Bank

Emilie Faudem, Nuweiba/Jerusalem

Women of the Tarabina Bedouin Women's Beading Project, Nuweiba, Egypt

Al Badia Embroidery Project, Beirut, Lebanon


Textile Museum of Washington, USA

Anonymous (x 5)

The Archive would also like to again acknowledge the generous support of our kind long term lenders, including:

Jehan Rajab, Tareq Rajab Museum, Kuwait

Neville Black, Sydney

Fay Plamka, Melbourne

Lyn Lowe, Darwin

Chris Stuart, Melbourne

Please see our Acquisitions page for:

Recent acquisitions, donors, long term lender and exhibition acknowledgments

Recent Palestinian costume and textile acquisitions and donations

Recent long term loans to the costume and textile collections

Recent costumes and textile acquisitions and donations from other regions of the Middle East

Recent acquisitions to the Archive's research library

Archive recent exhibitions and reviews/comments

Two of the Archive's travelling exhibitions Portraits without names: Palestinian costume and Secret Splendours: women's costume in the Arab world, were displayed at Museum Victoria's Immigration Museum in Melbourne, from 5 April to 14 July 2002.

The two exhibitions have been touring Australian and international venues since 1995, and contain more than three hundred 19th and 20th century Middle Eastern costumes, textiles, accessories and jewellery drawn from Australian and Middle Eastern museums and private collections. Reviewed as "delightful" (Costume, London), "truly beautiful" (The Australian) and "fascinating" (Art Monthly), the exhibitions inspired a member of the Sydney Palestinian community to write "...we believe [these] exhibitions have raised our self esteem and confidence and developed our sense of identity as a small community in Australia. As the exhibitions move around the country [they] will continue to raise and reinforce the identities of the Australian [Arab and] Palestinian communities...".

With the generous assistance of the Australia Arab Chamber of Commerce and Industry the Archive hosted a function at the Immigration Museum on 30 April where the Hon. John Pandazopoulos formally declared the exhibitions opened, with speeches by Immigration Museum Director Padmini Sebastian, AACCI Committee Member Mr Ala Ghandem, and the Archive's Director Jeni Allenby. 

Photo: the official party at the opening of the Archive's two exhibitions at the Immigration Museum, including Victorian Minister for Multicultural Affairs, the Hon. John Pandazopoulos, Immigration Museum Director Padmini Sebastian, AACCI Committee Member Mr Ala Ghandem, and the Archive's Director Jeni Allenby. (photo: Haydn Washington)

This was a wonderful evening, which allowed the Archive to acknowledge local and international sponsors and lenders to the exhibitions, some of whom had travelled to Melbourne for the event.

Articles about the exhibitions were published in the Australia Arab Chamber of Commerce and Industry's Sallaam magazine , Multicultural Victoria Newsletter (see go to Publications, then article titled "Restoring the fabric of a social soul") and Museum Victoria's magazine. The exhibitions also featured on Australia's ABC TV channel.

 A Comments Book in the Reading Area has also been much used, with entries such as:

"…I congratulate you on the brilliant work the Palestine Costume Archive has done…"

Iman Irhimeh, Melbourne, 2002

"…to see this beauty and all the love expressed in this exhibition, and go home and watch the TV news is almost unbearable…"

Ann S, Melbourne, 2002

"…lovely…Palestine is in my heart. Our heritage will endure forever. We are proud of this exhibition. Thank you…"

Dr Mai Sarraj, Melbourne, 2002

Photo: Guests Iman Irhimeh from Melbourne (right) with Christine McMillan (an Australian textile artist whose contemporary art works, inspired by Palestinian and Middle Eastern costume, are part of the "Portraits without names: Palestinian costume" exhibition) at the exhibition's Melbourne opening in April 2002. 
(photo: Haydn Washington)

"…wonderful and thrilling display. Just to see the Palestinian people portrayed in such an exhibition reveals their skills and beauty. I worked for several years amongst the Palestinian refugees and have seen some of the injustice and suffering of these people…"

E Stainer, Melbourne, 2002

"…sallam tommek. Words fail me. The Palestinian exhibition is very powerful and brought to mind many beautiful and painful memories and tears. Thank you…"

Georgette Hazelbank (Sahhar), Melbourne, 2002

"…in a time full of terror, discrimination, racism and hate I thank you for the knowledge that helps me go beyond the easy labels and see the beauty that exists to remind me that when we talk about conflict between groups – white/black, aboriginal/european settlers, Muslim/Jew, Palestinian/Israeli – we are discussing PEOPLE – individuals with rich cultures, traditions and histories…"

(signed) A Zionist Jew, Melbourne, July 2002

The Archive would particularly like to thank the Immigration Museum's front of house and security staff for their support, together with Museum Victoria's conservation team who made the installation and de-installation of the exhibition so memorable.  Director Jeni Allenby would also like to thank Lynneeta Darmody and Gallerie l'Orientaliste for the loan of the wonderful jewellery to wear to the exhibitions' opening function (see image above!).


Fiendish members of Museum Victoria's conservation staff, showing how NOT to display Sinai Desert bedouin beaded belts, during the "Secret Splendours: women's costume in the Arab world" installation, February 2002  (courtesy: Jeni Allenby).

Portraits without names: Palestinian costume then toured on to the Grafton Regional Art Gallery in northern NSW, Australia, where it was most successful, drawing the largest crowds of any travelling exhibition in 2002.  The Archive and Gallery were also most honoured to have Maha Hindi dance at the exhibition opening. The exhibition's Comments Book included the following:

"…a vivid and timely reminder…" Rhea Wells

"…an inspiring collection [that] makes you appreciate life so much…"

"…simply magnificent really superb…" Heather Holand and Y (?) Flaherty

"…outstanding, fascinating display…that has opened my eyes…" Judith Kavency

"…so grateful to all concerned with this exhibition [which] reveals truths I was not fully aware of…" L Hymes

Visitors Mary, Debbie, Megan and Sarah, from Grafton and Coffs Harbour, study Palestinian refugee camp embroidery project products, in the "Portraits without names: Palestinian costume" exhibition at Grafton Regional Art Gallery (courtesy: Jeni Allenby)

The Archive was also invited to display our travelling exhibition Symbolic defiance: Palestinian costume and embroidery since 1948 at the First World Congress of Middle Eastern Studies in Mainz, Germany. The Archive would like to thank the author of this review, Vicky Mason, for forwarding the following review to us:

"One of the highlights of attending the September 2002 World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies (WOCMES) conference in Mainz, Germany, was attending the outstanding Exhibition of "Symbolic Defiance: Palestinian Costume and Embroidery Since 1948" organised by the Palestine Costume Archive in Canberra, Australia. I felt honoured to have been able to see first-hand such a world-class collection of this priceless nature. In the course of my research I have read much about the key role costume and embroidery have played for Palestinian people, and to see such first-rate and unique examples of this work – such as with the Intifada Flag Dresses - was a truly amazing experience for me. I also have to say that the exhibition was a particular success because of the professionalism of the organiser of the exhibition – Jeni Allenby. In particular her paper "Re-inventing Cultural Heritage: Palestinian Traditional Costume and Embroidery Since 1948" gave a wealth of information enabling the true value of the exhibition to be appreciated. Moreover, I was not the only one who felt this way about the exhibition and Ms Allenby’s paper. Many other scholars attending the conference that I spoke to personally also expressed their appreciation of the exhibition, a notable example being the Palestinian singer and musicologist Reem Kelani. I hope that the Archive continues their wonderful work taking this amazing collection to new audiences across the globe".

Symbolic defiance: Palestinian costume and embroidery since 1948 travelling exhibition installation, showing intifada dresses designed by the ANAT Workshop, Yarmouk Refugee Camp, Syria, displayed at the First World Congress of Middle Eastern Studies, Mainz, Germany, 2002 (courtesy: Jeni Allenby)

Victoria Mason

Research Associate

International Relations and Global Security

Curtin University of Technology

Perth Western Australia

Forthcoming Archive exhibitions

The Archive will be installing a small display at Bankstown Library in Sydney as part of the Arab Carnival festivities in March 2003. Like most of our displays for libraries and low budget venues this will be a primarily graphic display, featuring costumes from all over the Arab world. For further information please contact us.

The Archive is also currently involved with several joint exhibition projects with the Stichting Textile Research Centre in Leiden in the Netherlands. The Stichting is a non profit organization which supports the study of textiles and dress from archaeological and anthropological sources, and is involved in a wide range of activities, including research, publications, exhibitions, and educational programs. The Stichting has also set up the Study Centre for Dress in the Islamic World, which is geared towards multicultural activities which help to bring an understanding of Islamic cultures through the medium of dress. The Stichting's director is Dr Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, well known for her wonderful exhibition on veiling, Sluiers, held at the National Museum of Ethnology in Leiden in 1996-97 (the catalogue For Modesty's sake? is available in the Archive's Research Library) and her travelling exhibition on Tutankhamun's Wardrobe, as well as her expertise on Qajar costume, a subject on which the Stichting recently organized a conference. The Stichting is currently curating a major exhibition about the urban and regional dress of Iran, titled Beyond the Chador. For further details of this exhibition please contact Dr Vogelsang-Eastwood (an exhibition proposal is also available for viewing at the Archive).

The Archive and the Stichting are currently involved in an exchange of collection material (for a list of items incoming to the Archive's collection from the Stichting, click here) as well as working together on several exhibition projects related to Yemeni and Omani costume. The Omani project will result in an online exhibition of traditional Omani costume, drawn from the collections of the Stichting, the Archive, and the Tareq Rajab Museum in Kuwait. For further information on these projects please email us.

Ongoing research projects and public inquiries

The Archive continues to receive several research requests daily, mostly via our website and current exhibition comments books.  While requests come in many shapes and forms - a recent request asked us to provide historical examples of dress from the "Aladdin age"! - our favourites remain the many we receive from young Palestinians in the international diaspora about to marry (and women marrying into Palestinian families), looking for information on Palestinian cultural heritage and society so that they can combine traditional costume elements or traditional rituals into their own wedding outfits and wedding services.  Once the Archive knows their village or town of origin we are able to email scanned photographs of early 20th Palestinian costume from that particular region, together with photographs and detailed research on Palestinian wedding ceremonies, to help them create a wedding unique to themselves and yet evocative of Palestine.  These are the only research requests for which the Archive ever asks payment - the payment being a photograph of their wedding party for the Archive's collection!  For us at the Archive, each of these precious photographs continues to remind us that Palestinian culture is still alive in the world.

However, you don't have to be Palestinian to get in touch, as we often hear from museum studies students, embroiderers, costume designers, photographers, postgraduate scholars, even children.  You can also see our Frequently Asked Questions page for further information about making research enquiries.  Remember too that the Archive is happy to identify and date any Palestinian or Middle Eastern costume brought to our attention, as well as handle research requests on Palestinian and Middle Eastern cultural heritage, and contemporary issues such as Islamic modesty dress hijab and Palestinian refugee camp embroidery projects.  Please email us with any enquiries.

The Archive continues to document and acquire embroidery and products from Palestinian refugee camp embroidery projects and village embroidery projects in the West Bank, as part of our long term research project on Palestinian costume and embroidery since 1948.  We now work with over thirty Palestinian refugee camp embroidery projects and Middle Eastern women's self help handicraft projects (for an update on their current restrictions click here).  If anyone has bought a particularly beautiful or unusual product from a project recently we would love to see an image for our archives.  We are also always on the lookout for embroidered products produced during the 1950s to 1970s from the earliest embroidery projects – please let us know of any you might have, or if you are in search of a good home for something!

In response to public requests we have also added a Donations/how to help page for those wishing further information about volunteering, training as an Archive Education Officer, or donating to either our costume or library collections, or to support Archive ongoing  research projects.

Project sponsorship - Palestinian films

For those wanting to support a specific Archive project, this newsletter we would like to bring your attention to our Palestinian and Middle Eastern film and documentary collection.  

The Archive is looking for funds to allow us to acquire Rashid Masharawi's 1998 film Tension.  Rashid Mashawari was born in 1962, and raised in the Shati refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. At the age of 18, he started working in the cinema industry and worked on over 20 films before starting to work on his own films, as a director.  He often works for Channel Four and the BBC and has directed documentary and fiction films: Travel Document (1986), The Shelter (1989), Dar O Dour (1991), Long Days in Gaza (1991), The Magician (1992), Curfew (1993), Intizaar (1994), Haifa (1995), Step and Another (1996), and Rabab (1997) and Tension [1998].

Tension is an extraordinarily powerful film made without using dialogue or narration,  that demonstrates that images and music are powerful tools in conveying the unease in the everyday lives of people living in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. 

Mashawari writes of Tension, "peace now is a broken mirror. It looks like a rosy old dream turning into a nightmare, or becoming a ghostly mask for the forces of destruction. The old spectre is haunting the minds of this "Holy Land." "Do not kill me twice!" is the best that the Palestinians can hope for now, given the fact that the Israeli government has been squeezing them to a degree that he himself has no idea of. The inspiring visions are doomed to turn into revisions. The fusions of the good and the free and the beautiful that were moving the region forward, bewildering even their own creators, became con-fusions. The rosy dreams turned into rejection, rejection into resistance, resistance into a restoration of the old sentiments and old self-defence mechanisms. This is not due to the peace process, but to the fact that peace itself has been "a walking contradiction - half truth, half fiction." Tension is a film about the boiling depths revealed by the surface of things, it is a warning siding with the truth in order to reveal the myth of "this form of peace," in search of a better and a more beautiful and freer future for everyone".

Scene from "Tension"

PALESTINE / 1998 / Arabic / Color / Video / 26 min
Director, Script, Editing: Rashid Masharawi
Photography: Oraby Sawalma, Klous Youlos Borjer
Editor: Hadara Oren
Music: Odeh Torjman
Produced by: The Palestinian Center for Regional Studies
Production Company, Source: Cinema Production Center
P.O.Box 2349, Al-Matal, Dar Ibrahim, Al-Tireh St., Ramallah PALESTINE
Phone & Fax: 972-2-2986942

The Archive requires $500 US (plus shipping costs) to purchase Tension.  If you would like to help please email us, or contact the film's production company CPC on the Archive's behalf (attention: Hanan).  Your support will be acknowledged on the Archive's donation lists, Annual Report and Newsletters, and we thank you most sincerely for your help in acquiring such an important film.

Educational and public programs

The Archive continues to offer (mostly gratis) educational and public programs to anyone interested in learning about Palestinian and Middle Eastern cultural issues. Archive Educational Officers are scattered worldwide, so please contact us if you would like educational programs organised in your region.

Educational and public programs include primary and secondary school talks and formal lectures, university lectures and seminars, smaller discussion groups, "touch" seminars (of Middle Eastern cultural heritage items and costumes) for the blind, Palestinian and Middle Eastern film programs, etc.

Recent seminar and lecture topics include:

Palestinian costume in the 20th century

Palestinian refugee camp embroidery projects

A traditional Palestinian wedding before 1948

Middle Eastern traditional costume

Middle Eastern women's issues

Hijab: contemporary Islamic modesty dress

Daily life in Gaza

Life for children in the West Bank and Gaza

"Wearing your heart on your sleeve": how Palestinian embroidery has become a symbol of Palestinian nationalism

Bedouin life

Recent conference papers include "Re-inventing cultural heritage: Palestinian costume and embroidery since 1948" presented at the 8th Symposium of the Textile Society of America, and "Symbolic defiance: Palestinian costume and embroidery since 1948" presented at the First World Congress of Middle Eastern Studies in Germany, both September 2002. For an abstract of the paper proposed for MESA 2003 please contact the Archive.

The Archive is also happy to organize displays for schools, libraries and smaller institutions and organizations with low budgets and security. We also often display sections of our travelling exhibitions or specially curated displays at international conferences. Please contact us for further details.

Recent and forthcoming Archive publications and articles

For more detailed information and images of Archive publications, including postcards, posters, colour exhibition catalogues and Exhibition Notes  please click here.

Colour catalogues for the Portraits without names: Palestinian costume travelling exhibition catalogue are still available (click here), as are collated Exhibition Notes for our exhibitions Portraits without names: Palestinian costume and Secret Splendours: women's costume in the Arab world.

For copies of Archive conference papers, including those presented at the First World Congress of Middle Eastern Studies in Germany and the 8th Symposium of the Textile Society of America, please email us. The Proceedings of the 8th Symposium of the Textile Society of America will be published early in 2003 and will be available for sale from the Textile Society of America. An article on the Archive can also be found on pages 10 and 11 of the most recent Textile Society of America Newsletter (Vol. 15, no. 1 Winter 2003) and in Multicultural Victoria (Vol 9, no. 4 Autumn 2002, produced by the Victorian Multicultural Commission) on pages 40 and 41.

The Archive has also undertaken to produce monographs on Palestinian embroidery, and Palestinian cultural heritage since 1948, for American and European publishers. Please contact us if you would like further details of these, or would like to be advised when they are available to the public.

Archive exhibition music and Palestinian music in general

Here at the Archive we continue to receive requests for details of the music played in our exhibitions.

The main CD which plays in Portraits without names: Palestinian costume and Symbolic defiance: Palestinian costume and embroidery since 1948 is the truly inspiring and evocative Lost Songs of Palestine produced by Anatolia, a US based group, in 2001.

In Anatolia's words: "…This recording of traditional Palestinian folk songs takes us back to a time long ago when life in the Middle East was very different. The everyday experiences of any culture - love, celebration, friendship, marriage - have always been the themes of its people's folk music. The people of Palestine are no exception.

In this collection we hear songs that have been sung by generations of Palestinians, but which have been overshadowed by the music and poetry of a people living under occupation. Music is a living and evolving art. As the day to day experiences of the Palestinians became more involved in the politics of resistance, so changed the musical output of the people. In this sense, the songs on this recording have been recently supplanted by politically based material. For Palestinians in particular, many of these songs will bring back memories of a time long ago. Some of the songs are found in other parts of the Arab world, where they are sung in popularized versions. But for Westerners, the Lost Songs of Palestine is a new opportunity to learn about the culture and rich musical heritage of an ancient people".

This wonderful CD features Michel Moushabeck, Edward Hines, Taner Okatan, Jamal Sinno, Mohammed Mejaour, Saied Khoury and the voice of Mirelle Tannous. It is available online through  Edward Hines Music (PO Box 941, Wendall, MA 01379, USA, tel/fax: (978) 544 6986). You can also learn more about Anatolia at that same site, and even download free one of the songs from the Lost Songs of Palestine CD, "Weyn a Ramallah".

The Archive is most grateful to Edward Hines for permission to play Lost Songs of Palestine within Archive exhibition spaces.

The haunting CD which plays in one area of Portraits without names, and throughout the exhibition space of Secret Splendours: women's costume in the Arab world is Nafas by Rabih Abou Khalil which is produced by EMC Records, Munich, and can be ordered through the website. We also thank EMC Records for their kindness in allowing the Archive to use this exquisite album to bring our exhibition spaces to life.

Two other albums (amongst many others!) much beloved by Archive staff are Amal Murkus' Amal (Hemisphere Records1998) and Palestine: music of the Intifada (Virgin Records 1989).

We would also like to refer you to the website of Yabous, a non profit Jerusalem based organization aiming to revive and enrich the cultural life in Palestine with particular emphasis on Jerusalem. Yabous organizes concerts, festivals, promoting groups and tours, working mainly in the field of performing arts. Yabous has recently produced a CD of Palestinian music, Palestinian Sounds, about which they write: " newly established Palestinian music groups and singers are not well know on an international level. This is partly due to the fact there exist no functioning local distribution network for the music products, tapes and compact discs. It is very difficult for Palestinian music bands and singers to promote and sell their tapes or CDs, despite of their quality. This project is aimed to produce and market CD's with a variety of quality Palestinian songs. The income generated from the CDs sold will be invested in a Palestinian Cultural Fund that would provide small - scale grants for cultural activities". Please email Yabous for further details.

Palestinian village and refugee camp embroidery project and other women's self help handicraft project news:

US sources of refugee camp project products

Lebwa's Association for the Revival of the Family

The Archive often receives requests from Americans looking for a way to acquire Palestinian Refugee camp embroidery project products in the US. Two US based programs have recently been brought to our attention, the first of which is the Association for the Revival of the Family, run by Lebwa.

Lebwa was founded in North America to contribute to the empowerment of Lebanese and Lebanese American women, by providing support and facilitating discussions between, for, and about women of Lebanon and those interested in their condition.

The Association for the Revival of the Family is a women's organization aiming at helping Palestinian refugees from Shateela camp in Beirut, Lebanon. Products such as embroidered pillows cases, table covers, eye glasses cases, etc, are sold through the Association. Some of their handicrafts were sold at the Feminist Expo2000 in Baltimore, as well at the annual Arabic Bazaar in Washington, DC. The organizer of the project recently informed the Archive that all current stock had been sold but please contact her for future updates. You can find the project's website.

Palestinian Embroidery Society of Jordan (Indigo Traders)

Beautiful bed linen made by Indigo Traders of Syrian fabrics (courtesy Indigo Traders)

The Archive has also recently been in contact with Indigo Traders, a US based company who has established the Palestinian Embroidery Society of Jordan.

PESJ was founded by the US based Indigo Trading Company to help sustain the beautiful art of Palestinian embroidery. The Society is comprised of seasoned embroiderers from the West Bank and Gaza who now reside in Jordan. In addition, a new generation of young Palestinian women are finding a place in the Society. Working together, Palestinian women of all ages are creating opportunities to sell their traditional form of art. The women who comprise PESJ embroider from their homes as they find time away from their daily routines. They may also embroider with friends, sharing stories and ideas. Each piece of embroidery represents a small piece of their life. And as regional designs are incorporated into each piece, a treasure is created. The mission of the Society is threefold:

First, it exists to provide a source of income for Palestinian women and their families during a time when opportunities are slim. Modern technology and the Internet offer a new and exciting outlet for women to sell their art. The Society offers business resources and teaches women the skills needed to expand their opportunities.

Secondly, it exists to help sustain the art itself. As the sustainability of the art is threatened, it is essential the traditional designs be taught to younger generations. Designs once passed down from mother to daughter are today available in digital format as a permanent record. As oral tradition remains the most significant link between generations and tradition, modern technology ensures little is lost in between.

Finally, the Society exists to share this rich tradition with the rest of the world. With the use of modern technology, the art of Palestinian embroidery can be enjoyed anywhere.

Embroidered linen shawl (courtesy Indigo Traders)

The immediate goal of the Society is to provide a consistent source of income for existing members. This will be reached through an online marketing campaign beginning February 2003 and expansion of its wholesale customer base. Other goals include creating marketing and informational materials, growing membership and providing business education to members.

You can read more about the PESJ, see images of their lovely products, and acquire them online on the Indigo Trader website. The Archive hopes to soon stock their products, and Indigo Traders has also most kindly offered to donate a PESJ product to the Archive's permanent collection.

The Archive commends Indigo Traders for their wonderful work and wishes the company all the best with the Palestinian Embroidery Society of Jordan project.

Other US based distributors of Palestinian embroidery

For other American sources of Palestinian embroidery, don't forget the Hebron Poor Women's Embroidery Project, a relief project of the non profit Friendship and Peace Society established in 1995, which illustrates some of the very reasonably priced products that can be purchased from Ellen Rosser in the USA.

The project consists of women who are the sole support of their families: widows, divorcees, women married to ill or unemployed men. The women come from the Palestinian villages around Hebron, including Beit Kahel, Sumua, Yatta, Idna and Beni Naim. Most of the patterns the women use in the products produced by the project - mainly cushions and wall hangings - are derived from the traditional dresses once worn in the local villages, each village of course having its own distinctive dress style and preferred motifs. The Hebron region is particularly noted for its flower, bird and animal designs and these all appear on the project's products.

The project also makes a couple of unusual products that are well worth acquiring, as you will find them nowhere else. Their copies of pre 1948 rectangular bridal trousseau cushions, originally found in southern Palestine, are just lovely, with embroidery worked in vivid colours, and with traditional appliqued sections. You can find these at Numbers #80 and #81 in their catalogue.

The other lovely item the project makes are copies and contemporary versions of the hand crocheted and beaded caps or headdresses that were popular in some parts of Palestine early in the 20th century. These beret like forms (and in fact if you order one they are called berets by the project. You can find them at Numbers #160, #161 and #162 in their catalogue) were originally designed by young women attending early missionary schools for girls during the British Mandate, who did not want to wear the more restrictive, traditional smadeh headdress which they saw as old fashioned. Known as shabakat al-kharaz, the "bead net" caps were inspired by European hair nets that the girls probably saw being worn by their European teachers or nuns. The girls crocheted the caps (another skill taught by the missionaries and educationalists) and added the beads for modesty. The project makes several styles of beret. We particularly recommend the black one with red beads for its stylishness!

See either their website or the Archive's page on Palestinian refugee camp embroidery projects for further details.

Another American outlet for Palestinian products is the United Palestinian Appeal, based in Washington DC. The UPA is a non profit, non political, tax exempt American charity that was established in 1978. UPA is dedicated to alleviating the suffering of Palestinian people, wherever they may be. Through purchasing their products your contribution is used to fund projects that support health care and medical services, education, community development, student scholarship and child sponsorship.

You can check out the UPA's website or can request a copy of their product catalogue by telephoning (toll free) 1-800-982-6183 or emailing.

Refugee camp and handicraft project products in stock at the Archive

The Archive has just received new stock from the Tarabina Arts and Crafts Centre!

The Tarabina Arts and Crafts Centre is a new project centre for the women of the Tarabin bedouin tribe, based at their village in Nuweiba, along the Aqaba Gulf coast of the South Sinai Desert of Egypt. The centre produces and markets traditional and contemporary handicrafts. including beadwork, embroidery, camel regalia, shawls, jewellery, clothing, woven rugs, and bags, which 

Beaded necklaces from Tarabina Arts and Crafts Centre (Jeni Allenby)

can also be adapted to meet wider consumer tastes such as beaded evening necklaces and woven purses. The centre already markets merchandise in a number of bazaars and hotels in the Sinai Peninsula. You can read more about the project and see images of the beadwork (in an earlier Archive newsletter) by clicking here.

The new shipment includes exquisite beaded necklaces in many colours and styles. Please email us for further information.

The Archive holds products from over thirty Palestinian village and weaving projects. To learn more about these projects see our webpage devoted to them, then see our updates on the problems facing them by clicking here. A complete list of Archive stock, including embroidered cushions, wallets, photo frames, purses, shoulder bags, table cloths, quilts, dresses, dolls, shoes, and woven fabric and baskets, is available upon request.

Bali Appeal

As many Archive Friends know the Archive has long had links with Bali. Since the Kuta bombing tourist numbers have greatly decreased, this in some regions where 90% of the local economy is dependant on tourism and where the local population (many of whom have not travelled beyond their island) have little understanding of why this is happening to them. Post September 11, the Archive has watched communities in similar positions in other parts of the world, such as the Tarabin bedouin tribes near Nuweiba in Egypt, whose economy has been drastically affected now that tourists (mostly American and Israeli) no longer come for the region's diving. Archive staff helped set up several women's weaving and contemporary batik workshops in Bali. Twenty years later we are again trying to help the next generation of Balinese women from these same villages. The additional income provided by the projects and Western tourism over the last twenty years has primarily been spent on the education of the next generation, which means that the loss of revenue now is severely disrupting schooling and university education for many children.

All sales from the products below will go to keeping Balinese village girls at university, helping with fees until the local economy recovers hopefully in a few months time. Imported by Hejat Imports especially for the Archive, these are all one off items, made of soft 100% cotton, either with hand printed with modern batik designs (such as fish, geckos, stars and moons, etc in vibrant colours) or hand woven and dyed in luminous jewel like colours.


Pure cotton reversible kimonos in bright contemporary batiks (with matching belt) $90 AUD ($50US or 50 Euros) featuring the following designs:

    Fish: blue fish on white, with deep blue + white checked reverse

    Curls: white and purple checked with deep purple curl designs

    Geckos: deep sea green with purple with suns + moons reverse with Balinese geckos

Spots: grey spots with white, gold and pink, with plain bright pink reverse

    Florals: small curving white flowers on sea green with "Japanese" geometric reverse

Pure cotton queen doonas/duvets with coconut wood buttons (with matching pillowslips with coconut wood buttons) in contemporary batiks $180AUD ($100US or 100 Euros)

    Fish: black fish on white background

    Star: white star on black background

Pure cotton double sided queen doonas/duvets with coconut wood buttons (with matching pillowslips with coconut wood buttons) in bright contemporary batiks $180AUD ($100US or 100 Euros)

    Pink Star: black background with bright pink star (reverse plain black cotton)

    Blues: white and blue enclosed star with blue "ant" design on reverse


Exquisite queen size bedspread of handwoven Balinese cotton ikat, of deep royal blue with one side of triangular patchwork in a myriad of jewelled colours (including orange, purple, pale gold, sea blue, bottle green, bright pink, etc) $400AUD ($240US or 240 Euros

Queensize bedspread of plain deep maroon/purple cotton Balinese ikat with inserted large central panel of pink, gray, pale gold and bottle green Balinese handwoven cotton ikat $280AUD ($155US or 155 Euros)

Waistcoat and trouser sets - sale price now $200AUD ($100US or 100 Euros per set)

These lovely outfits are made of plain coloured hand woven cotton ikats in jewelled colours, many with rich Indian brocade and sequined fabric inserts and interesting buttons. They are all a large fit, the trousers a wide cut with an elastic waist. The waistcoats can be reversed and feature an alternative colour lining, with two front pockets.

Pale gold (rich butter) handwoven Balinese ikat waistcoat with bright pink ikat reverse (also used on cloth covered buttons) with Indian pink, green and white silk fabric inserts covered with gold sequins and metallic embroidery in geometric and elephant designs on front pockets and small panel upper back. Trousers matching ikat with full length side panels of same Indian embroidered and sequined fabric..

Rich gold handwoven Balinese cotton ikat with rich orange reverse (also used on cloth covered buttons) with front pockets edged with Balinese and Indonesian silver, Egyptian imitation gold coins, silver bells, Italian gold moon and sun buttons and gold braid flowers. Trousers matching ikat with similar edging.

Bottle green handwoven Balinese ikat with rich orange ikat reverse, orange, gold and green Indian brocade on front pockets and small panel upper back, with four gold filigree Italian buttons. Trousers matching ikat with full length side panels of same Indian brocade.


Hand woven Ikat vest with coconut wood buttons (XXL) (beautifully made) $80AUD ($45US or 45 Euros)

Heavy, very soft handwoven cream cotton jacket with Chinese coin buttons (XXL) $100AUD ($55US or 55 Euros)

Handwoven indigo dyed cotton vest (various patterns and sizes) $80AUD ($45US or 45 Euros)

Handwoven Balinese cotton ikat reversible jacket (Issey Miyake pattern) featuring rich gold and royal blue ikats $150AUD ($85US or 85 Euros)


Sandal wood coiled incense $15AUD packet of 12 long lasting coils

Balinese temple incense $5AUD per packet of 20 sticks

Address Book - Homage to Balinese Women (Seniwati Gallery of Women Artists, Bali) $20AUD

Sets of handmade paper with petals $10AUD

Home made village perfume sets (10 small bottles including rose, amber, jasmine and Balinese local temple blends, in woven box) $30AUD

Please contact the Archive for further details and images. Your support of this temporary project is much appreciated.

Other news

For up to date information on the destruction of Palestinian Women's Organisations and charitable societies see this article by Rose Shonali Musleh.

We sincerely thank you for your interest in the Archive. For updates on the precarious situation of many Palestinian refugee camp projects, as well as information on new projects, and projects now on line click here.  For information about how to volunteer at the Archive, or train as an Education Officer, click here.  For details on how to become an Archive Friend click here.  For information on how to support the Archive, or assist one of our projects in particular, click here.  For information on how to donate a costume or textile to our collection, or a book or journal subscription to our Research Library click here (for details of recent acquisitions to the Archive's display and study costume collections and Research Library, click here).

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