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Palestinian tapestry installed at the WCC

Palestinian tapestry installed at the WCC

© Ivars Kupcis/WCC

29 March 2017

The World Council of Churches (WCC) this week installed at its headquarters in Geneva a tapestry of traditional Palestinian embroidery donated to the WCC.

The tapestry, which graces the entry to the offices of the WCC general secretariat, was presented in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) in a short ceremony attended by meeting participants, WCC staff and ecumenical friends at the Ecumenical Centre.

The embroidery was donated in September 2016 in appreciation of the WCC's programmes in Palestine and Israel fostering understanding and working to bring peace with justice to the people of Palestine and Israel.

The gift also included a full-colour volume, entitled Traditional Palestinian Costume: Origins and Evolution, by Hanan Karaman Munayyer, that presents a comprehensive record of traditional embroidery as part of the cultural heritage of Palestine, including a photograph and description of the donated work of art.

Hand-crafted by Palestinian women refugees in Beirut, Lebanon, over a period of two years, the modern wall hanging incorporates traditional Palestinian embroidery techniques.

WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit presented the installation. Tveit stated: “This is a wonderful and particularly valuable example of Palestinian embroidery, which we see as something really beautiful and that evokes our sympathy. It reminds us that even while living under injustice, people are still able to create beauty. It shows how we are connected in our work with the Palestinian refugees and people, and it encourages us to continue our work.”

Bishop Munib Younan, from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Jordan and the Holy Land, was invited to share his thoughts with the assembly.  Younan stated:  “The occupation tries to deny us our culture, but this embroidery give us hope that we still belong to the country and it to us, and this way we can work for peace and justice in Palestine and Israel. It helps us remain steadfast in our work for the dignity of our humanity.”

Rooted in antiquity, the art and patterns of Palestinian embroidery have been passed down from generation to generation by Palestinian women, and embroidery remains an important part of the cultural heritage and identity of Palestine.

The fine piece of artistry bears witness to the cultural survival of Palestine and the deep and long-standing engagement of the WCC, its partners and the ecumenical community there.

Member churches in the Middle East