Material Power: Palestinian Embroidery

Exhibition at The Whitworth, The University of Manchester

Tatreez—translated from arabic to mean embroidery, shapes the exhibition Material Power: Palestinian Embroidery at The Whitworth, The University of Manchester in collaboration with Kettle’s Yard, The University of Cambridge, and curated by Rachel Dedman.

As shown in the exhibition, embroidery motifs, textiles and techniques vary from area to area in Palestine, embodying a visual language and identity. On until 7th April 2024, the exhibition reflects on the history and evolution of embroidery in Palestine over the past century, covering traditional embroidery and its subsequence transformation, its politicisation, symbolism, power and interpretation by contemporary artists such as Mona Hatoum, Khalil Rabah, Mounira Al Solh. The exhibition showcases female labour and resilience, engaging in Palestinian craft and heritage.

Dresses, known as thobes, some with over 200,000 stitches, feature in Material Power: Palestinian Embroidery. More than 40 embroidered dresses and other objects loaned from collections in Jordan, Jerusalem and the West Bank, and from the Whitworth’s collection are on display. 

Tatreez is a historical visual identity and language, its designs, colours and patterns document and carry through clothing and fabric, heritage, stories, and expressions.


Material Power: Palestinian Embroidery 24 November 2023 – 7 April 2024 at The Whitworth, The University of Manchester

Image credit: Detail of dress from Beit Dajan, 1930s from the collection of George M. Al-Ama © the Whitworth, The University of Manchester. Photography by Ruth Wedgbury.