Image: Resounding Bell, Jorsan Nassar
The Mosaic Rooms gallery commissioned artist Jordan Nassar to design a cross stitch pattern inspired by the rich history of Palestinian embroidery, tatreez. The pattern and instructions are available to download for free and Nassar has created a tutorial video. A New York based artist of Palestinian descent, Nassar embroiders landscape compositions, which are framed by, and built up through, repeating patterns adapted from traditional Palestinian motifs. His work imagines an idyllic space: the sort of utopian vision of Palestine held by the displaced constituents that comprise the region’s diaspora.
Image: Yellow is the Sun's Colour, 2017, Jordan Nassar.
The decorative motifs that Nassar uses prompt a conversation about the relationship of Western and non-Western traditions. A distanced engagement with cultural heritage, as when Nassar worked from books of patterns, raises the issue of cultural transmission and appropriation. It was only after participating in a fellowship in Israel that he made contact with actual embroiderers on the West Bank. It then became important to Nassar to shorten the chain of transmission, collaborating directly with cultural producers, rather than filtering history and promulgating its decontextualization. Each recent work begins with Nassar creating a composition from patterns, sections of which he designates for the landscapes. He then sends this work to women in the Hebron region of Palestine who embroider the patterns in colors of their choice, sending them back to Nassar, who responds to their choices in his renderings of the landscapes. As such, two cultures coincide in Nassar’s canvases. The longstanding familial, matrilineal transmission of the embroidery tradition in Palestine with the Western, painterly impulses of Nassar’s upbringing and context as a diaspora Palestinian living in New York.
The Mosiac Rooms is a non-profit art gallery and bookshop dedicated to supporting and promoting contemporary culture from the Arab world and beyond in London. For more information visit mosaicrooms.org
Free tatreez pattern and instructions.