‘Poetic nights’ combines the fine arts of both calligraphy and fabric design in a handmade pillowcase, with an original design inspired by Arabic poetry. Artist Ayed Arafah reflects on how the occupation also takes part of the body and mind; to protect his dreams from this violence, he often reads poetry before sleeping. That’s why he made these pillow cases: to provide a warm and creative touch to the bedroom, with the lyrical content and meaning allowing poetic dreams to appear.
One pillowcase shows a quote from Mahmoud Darwish’s poem ‘In Praise of the High Shadow’: “How we’d love the navy blue except the broken shadow above the sea.” The other pillow case comes from Darwish’s poem ‘Diary of a Palestinian wound’ and reads: “Tell her I’m fine… My homeland is not a suitcase and I am not a traveller.”
This pillowcase’s cotton fabric is made in Al-Khalil (Hebron); it is designed by artist Ayed Arafah, and is screen-printed and tailored in Bethlehem.
- 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)
Silkscreen print on Palestinian-made cotton fabric
2 variants currently available (Diary of a Palestinian wound & In praise of the high shadow)
60 x 70 cm
Available seeds at Disarming Design from Palestine:
— Abu Samara (wheat)
— Bamyeh / Okra (ladies’ fingers)
— Molokhia (Jute Mallow)
— Sabanikh (spinach)
— Yakteen (gourd)
— Zinnia Sabella (flower, edible petals)
— Bitinjan (Eggplant)
On top of the political violence, Palestinian farmers also face the dangers of agribusiness with its corporate seed production and land dominance. But many of these farmers are the heroes who have been safeguarding the precious seeds, and the knowledge that these carry. Palestinian Heirloom seed varieties are under threat; many have gone extinct. These seeds have been passed down to us over the centuries, and carry in their genes the stories and the spirits of Palestinian indigenous ancestors. Aside from their cultural significance, these seeds carry options for our future survival as we face climate change and the erosion of agro-biodiversity worldwide. As such, it is urgent that we save heirloom seeds, and propagate them.
Founded by Vivien Sansour, the Palestinian Heirloom Seed Library project seeks to preserve and promote heritage and threatened seed varieties, traditional Palestinian farming practices, and the cultural stories and identities associated with them. Based in the Village of Battir, a UNESCO World Heritage Site outside Bethlehem, the library also serves as space for collaborations with artists, poets, writers, journalists, and other members to showcase and promote their talents and work. Working closely with farmers, the Library has identified key seed varieties and crops threatened with extinction, and provides opportunities to inspire local farmers and community members to actively preserve their bio-culture and recuperate their local landscape.
The library has also launched a global platform for conversations about bio-cultural heritage. Its Traveling Kitchen is a mobile venue for social engagement in different communities, promoting cultural preservation through food choices.
Established 2014, Bethlehem, Palestine
Learn more about the Palestinian Heirloom Seed Library and the work of Vivien Sansour on this website.
For more on Abu Samara, listen to this song dedicated to the wheat by Zaid Hilal: Abu Samra أبو سمرة حبة القمح .
- Vivien Sansour (PS)
Vivien Sansour (Palestine) is a believer in the magic of the simple things in life. This magic represented in her work where seeds and soil are brought to life through her practice as a conservationist and writer. Vivien feels at home in the fields where farmers plant their seeds and share their stories. In her practice, Vivien combines the work of conservation with the sensory world of image and sound. She works with farmers around the world to find and reintroduce threatened crop varieties, and collects stories to assert the ownership of seeds by communities and not companies.
Vivien was born in Palestine and grew up in Bethlehem. She does not live in one particular place as her work takes her to different communities around the world – from Palestine, California, Central America and the Caribbean. She is the founder of The Palestine Heirloom Seed Library and the Traveling Kitchen project, both initiatives aim to bring seed heritage back to the dinner table so we can, “eat our history rather than store it away as a relic of the past”.
- Daleen Saah (PS)
100% Palestinian heritage seeds
harvest 2020, packed in 2021
10 x 15cm (size of package, including seeding information inside)