During his visits abroad, artist and designer Ayed Arafah would regularly phone his mother and ask her for recipes; she would then dictate the right instructions. Arafah was trying to cook his favourite dishes, and he was left with many scraps of paper with recipes on them. Back in Palestine, he translated these into handwritten memos and drawings, and screen-printed the artworks onto cotton fabric woven in Al Khalil/Hebron.
With these apron designs, Ayed Arafah turns this culinary heritage into beautiful and useful daily objects. As a Palestinian refugee in Bethlehem, he keeps Qastina – the village he originates from – alive through these Qastina designs.
- The aprons are available with three designs:
- — Ka’ak Al-Quds (Jerusalem bread) is a type of bread baked in Jerusalem and found throughout the Middle East. Typically, this is a yeasted, crusty bread which is shaped into an oblong ring and covered in sesame seeds. The dough has a lighter texture and is crunchy on the outside.
- — Maklouba is frequently designated as the Palestinian national dish, and is very popular amongst Palestinians. The dish includes meat, rice and fried vegetables placed in a pot, which is then flipped upside down when served — hence the name maklouba, which translates literally as “upside-down”.
- — Mloukheyyeh was made by Arafat’s mother often to celebrate the first day of the Holy Month of Ramadan. It takes its name from its main ingredient: a bitter, leafy plant that is also known as jute mallow.
- — Qalaya, literally meaning “frying pan” in Arabic, is a common dish eaten by Palestinians for breakfast, dinner, or as a lunch starter. The base for this tomato stew remains the same across families and regions: tomato, garlic, onion, and olive oil. Although Qalaya has many different variations, this apron shows what is the one and only recipe for its artist Ayed Arafah, with fresh green pepper.
- — Waraq, “leaves” in Arabic, is a common dish eaten by Palestinians and across the Eastern Mediterranean. Grapevine leaves are rolled and stuffed with a preparation of rice with herbs and tomato, sometimes meat, and cooked over a slow fire.
- Further reading:
- The Soft Power of Palestinian Food [article in pdf]
- Resistance through Palestinian Food [online article]
- 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 on 100% Mansouri Cotton
94 x 46 cm