Ethnographic Collection Display: Women of Gaza Exhibition

As part of its plan for future exhibitions, this year the Palestinian Museum will begin work on a rotating series of temporary exhibitions. This will primarily comprise heritage objects from its Permanent Collection while occasionally hosting various collections from partner museums or collectors.

The display policy underpinning these temporary exhibitions focuses on a topic or aspect of tangible Palestinian heritage, with the components of this heritage contended as essential to Palestinian history and identity formation and interaction thereof.

Women of Gaza Exhibition

The successive wars that the Gaza Strip has been subjected to throughout the occupation have changed its image and presence in the collective imagination and daily consciousness of Palestinians; this is so to the extent that we have nearly forgotten the depth of history this tiny geographical spot has and its civilizational role in shaping our identity and heritage.

This exhibition brings back to us the true image of the Gaza area: its ancient history, rich heritage, humanitarian assertion, and the names of its cities and villages before they were ethnically cleansed by the occupation which built settlements atop their ruins to become the so-called “Gaza envelope”.

The objects displayed shed light on the forgotten side of the women of Gaza’s story; these women, our mothers, have become a symbol of deprivation and loss. We contemplate their cultural achievements as part of a long story of creativity, refugeehood, displacement, solidarity, and material interdependence between the city, village, and desert that transcends the political borders imposed by the occupation. Here the viewer will see up-close different forms of tatreez (embroidery), the carefully conserved structure of thobes (dresses), cloth woven in Majdal, and jewellery found in the Gaza area. Together, they give a faithful picture of what Gazan women have accomplished in contributions to Palestinian heritage and its intertwined customs and traditions.

We present to you thobes from Majdal, Hiribya, Gaza, Deir al-Balah, and Khan Yunis, Bedouin headdresses and burqas from the south of Gaza Valley, and jewellery representing different regions, all items containing a plethora of rich meanings linked to Palestinian popular beliefs and convictions.