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Jerusalem can easily cast a spell on you without you even noticing. It can start before you even set foot inside the city, hearing the ka’ek seller calling out for people to buy his freshly baked ka’ek, the traditional Jerusalem bread, or the clinking of copper that comes from those selling cold kharoub juice. The sound of people walking bounces around in all directions, like busy bees — the sounds of coffee grinding, the juice-squeezing machine, the calls coming from behind to make way for the handcarts as they manoeuvre their way around the alleyways. Best of all is the voice of the ice cream seller calling out “buza rukkab”, who leaves a smile on your face yet leaves you wondering, how does the ice cream find its way and pass through the Israeli checkpoints to reach Jerusalem every day? The minute you yearn for these sounds, you realise that you have become yet another victim of the Jerusalem spell. Let yourself be carried away by the sounds of Jerusalem as you listen to the recordings via the QR code on this cotton tote bag.
- Ghadeer Dajani (PS)
Ghadeer is a Palestinian interior designer based in Jerusalem. In this moment she is part of the Disarming Design Team as Production Manager. “On the market you see our heritage being used with a sort of ‘Copy-Paste’ attitude and this is why after some time, the products became outdated, repetitive and not responsive to the fast changing of contemporary societies we live in. The same goes also for the design of the products; stiking a piece of embroidery on an object is not enough to make it stand out as a Palestinian item and the narration behind the product becomes weaker anad not be perceivable by other people. Today, with technology, everything changes so fast and so sudden, we need to be able to act upon what is happening around us. The beauty of the past needs to be reinvented according to the possibilities and necessities we have today, in a creative and well thought way.” — From the interview with Ghadeer Dajani December 2015
“Art, design, crafts, they all have to be part of the resistance against the occupation, as an element within a mosaic power against foreign rule. It has to reflect the beauty and the strength of Palestine, just like poetry and literature are doing. DDFP brings this together, representing a circle of artists and artisans, as well online as to the rest of the world. Before I attended my first create shop in 2015, I wasn’t thinking to highly of our local crafts production. It felt as it was being restricted to traditional embroidery, and to the usual products in ceramics and glass and so on. For us, we always saw the same things over and over again in the market. There was never someone who would do something different or revolutionary. Disarming design made us aware that we have this heritage and that we could something new with it. That it is Palestinian, a part of our identity and that we can be proud of it. It feels that until now people have been scared to try new things. In the way artisans were doing things they were earning their living. So why risk all that for doing something out of the box? The idea of working with designers is also very new. We weren’t really trusted with our innovative, creative concepts and approaches. So collaborating felt like an experiment for both sides, where people stepped in with quite some reservations and resistance. It took time to overcome these sentiments. But after a while, it turned out to be very beneficial for all of us. I definitely have developed my ideas thanks to the way the craftspeople I have worked with have taught me new techniques and different ways of doing things. DDFP is trying to support low and middle-income businesses, but it is true that they currently cannot significantly contribute to the financial sustainability of any of the artisans or designers. What we see happening on the other hand is that they start to become a catalyst for other NGO and organisations, and maybe, when they all would join forces, we can work towards a more worthwhile economical position. It is nice to see that people, after they participated at the create shops, are starting to create an independent network. It seems that we finally are going to reach a point that we can establish a network that can include everybody involved and interested in Palestinian design and crafts. We are not there yet, but it is definitely under construction.” — From Kurt Vanbelleghem interview, Can one really benefit from a social design project, or is it just another spin at the wheel?
- Ayed Arafeh (PS)
Ayed Arafah was born in Jerusalem and grew up in Dheisheh refugee camp. Nowadays, he works and lives in Ramallah. He has a BA degree in contemporary visual art from The International Academy of Art and a BA in social work from Al Quds Open University. Combining classic and contemporary media, he explores the conceptual image that aims to motivate a better understanding about the self (my self and others) in relation with society’s issues related to politics, culture and economics. His aim is to engage with different levels of society.
- George Qarra’a (PS)
Tailor George Qarra’a (Bethlehem, PS)
Cotton textile from Hebron
33,5 x 40,5 cm