Inaash, an association that works for the development of Palestinian camps, was founded in the late 1960s. The women who founded the Association felt a deep need to preserve the heritage of the Palestinian embroidery craft, while also finding means of financial support for refugee camps that reside in Lebanon. Inaash now creates clothing, handbags, soft furnishings and other hand-embroidered items, whose purchasing funnels directly back to the women who created them. We spoke with Rula Alami, who is on the Inaash Board of Directors, about her background with the association and the work Inaash does to promote and preserve Palestinian heritage through the traditional craft.
1) How did you first get involved and get on the board of Inaash? I joined Inaash in 2002. My interest was probably triggered by the fact that my late mother was a member of Samed and so I grew up with embroidered cushions around me. The board members then were mostly older ladies who worked very hard but in an adhoc style and therefore welcomed younger members.
2) What does Inaash do to promote and preserve Palestinian material culture within Palestine and the Middle East? We rely on our shop in Hamra and on exhibitions both regional and in Europe to sell our products.The embroidery heritage is our mission, we rely on women embroiders in Palestinian camps and our precious ladies of the board who excel in designs and colors.
3) Why do you believe it is so important to save/preserve this beautiful craft? In my opinion, preserving this rich heritage is as vital as preserving Palestine. They go together. each stitch, each design represents an area of Palestine along with the culture that comes with it. Yesterday was the opening of an exceptional exhibition at Centre Pompidou in Paris named 12 Windows on Palestine. The installation is by the great artist Mona Hatoum, and the 12 panels are by Inaash. Reaching the international art scene is a tremendous achievement for our heritage.