- Museum number
Unisex bolero-style jacket made of deep purple coloured English herringbone twill wool. The jacket is lined with silk organza and has a metal zip closure at the front. Hand-embroidered in cross-stitch along the back in shades of golden yellow perle cotton using the 'star keys' (mafatih nujum) motif interspersed with skull motifs. The embroidery is further embellished with copper and amber beads and several long tassels, which when tied together create 'winged' flaps on the sides of the jacket. The jacket is constructed from seven identical pattern pieces based on the design of a village woman’s chest panel (qabbeh) with keyhole neck opening, typical of the style of village dress from south of Palestine. It also includes a faux hood on the back and is embroidered on the inside with the designer's name. Seams are left raw.
- Production date
Length: 76 centimetres (top to bottom)
Width: 81 centimetres (sleeve to sleeve)
- Curator's comments
- The jacket belongs to the designer’s ‘Silk Thread Martyrs’ series and is visually inspired by the history and contemporary politics of his homeland, Palestine. The piece documents how a modern Middle Eastern designer has drawn inspiration from traditional Palestinian embroidery and dressmaking, such as the use of the ‘star keys’ motif, tassels and the inclusion of the ‘wing sleeves’ of southern Palestinian dresses made in the late 19th-early 20th centuries. Nasser-Khoury’s finished garment has abstracted these forms to create a very modern and contemporary embroidered bolero-style jacket with wings.
The embroidery on Nasser-Khoury’s piece was executed by Nazmieh Salem, Palestian refugee living in Mar Elias (St Elias) refugee camp in Beirut, Lebanon. The embroiderer works for a charitable organisation called INAASH (Association for the Development of Palestinian Camps) founded in 1969 to promote Palestinian embroidery, reintroduce the tradition to the refugees living in camps in Lebanon, improve living conditions in the camps and generate income through the sale of their hand-embroidered cushions and textiles. The use of skull motifs in place of traditional floral designs on the jacket are Nasser-Khoury’s references to, “The omnipresence of death in daily life as a result of the Israeli Occupation [which] has thrown society into a perpetual state of mourning and loss. [The collection] flaunts, in stubborn protest, the last thing that Palestinians ironically still own: their doom.” The star-key motifs are transformed into ‘death stars’ with the addition of the skulls, which are references to the bombs that were dropped over Gaza in 2009.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Purchased following an exhibition of his collection called 'Silk Thread Martyrs' held at the Mosaic Rooms at the A. M. Qattan Foundation, 226 Cromwell Rd, London, SW5 0SW, 18.02.11 - 09.03.11.
- Middle East
- Registration number