Abu Dhabi Art has returned for 2020, and this year’s virtual edition will see a collaboration between UAE social enterprise 81 Designs and design studio Naqsh Collective for a nostalgia-inducing exhibition.
The collection, titled A Thobe Story, features ten unique garments, inspired by centuries of Palestinian culture, that have been created with local craftmanship. The patterns from the collection reflect Jordanian design studio Naqsh Collective’s missed stories of Palestinian cities: Jaffa, Acre, and Gaza. The collaboration was developed by female-led social enterprise 81 Designs and Naqsh Collective to tell a story of the traditional thobe garments and depict how they have changed through time, honoring the rich Arabian culture with their designs.
“The synergy between 81 Designs and Naqsh Collective is rooted from our ideal to preserve tradition through the time-honored embroidery technique Tatreez. Through our collaboration, we aim to showcase the artisanal talents, while providing a platform for regional artists and designers to showcase their art in a different medium,” said Nadine Y. Maalouf, who co-founded 81 Designs with her mother, Nisreen El Tibi Maalouf.
The mother-daughter duo founded the social enterprise 81 Designs in 2015 alongside a group of refugee women living in Ain El-Hilweh Camp in South Lebanon, and look to empower skilled women by providing employment opportunities. For the Thobe Story collection, each of the ten garments was hand-embroidered by Palestinian refugee women, all of whom have been employed by 81 Designs.
Jordanian sisters and founders of Naqsh Collective, Nisreen and Nermeen Abu Dail wanted to bring parts of their Palestinian heritage to the collection. “Our attempt in creating a Palestinian thobe is to imagine living our missing experiences of our beloved Palestine like jumping off Akka’s cliff and going on a fishing trip by Jaffa’s Port, and more. The thobes will connect with grandmothers and can be passed on from generation to generation,” says Nermeen.
A Thobe Story will be presented at this year’s virtual Abu Dhabi Art, where 81 Designs and Naqsh Collective will hold a virtual talk on November 19, at 2pm GST to discuss their collaboration in detail, where each piece will also be carefully presented.
Each piece from the collection is priced at US $10,000 and can also be viewed either through a private showing, a public viewing, or through the virtual exhibition via a link. Alternatively, to register for the ‘A Thobe Story’ virtual talk register here.