Garden of Stories

Interwoven by Bo Lu, Shan Yang, Tianjiao Yan, Ning Lin Technologies: thin-film solar, piezoelectric generators (wind harvesting through cables), kinetic energy harvesting Annual Capacity: 3,500 MWh

I have come, after long wanderings,
To a place of cool waters,
Where the date-palms rise like sentinels,
And the tamarisks wave in the breeze.

Oasis, by Imru’ al-Qais

Stay a while in the oasis to enjoy stories of beauty and meaning from the Middle East.

Hugs and Bugs: Everything is on the street - In response to the horror of war in her Ukrainian birthplace, Sveta Dorosheva immersed herself in the absurdist theatre of her Tel Aviv neighbourhood.
Esther Elia ✿ An Assyrian Prayer Bowl - Our December laurel is awarded to an Assyrian living in the USA who makes prayer bowls with messages of cultural resilience.
A message from Umm el-Fahem Art Gallery - Said Abu Shakra renews his commitment to arts and culture as a platform for dialogue inside and outside Israel
Scented adornment in North Africa and Southwest Asia - Sigrid van Roode discovers redolent objects of wearable fragrance in the cultures of the Middle East.
The rose perfumers of Kannauj - Dwan Kaoukji tracks the production of the most exquisite floral scent from the perfumeries of Kuwait to the traditional distillers of Uttar Pradesh
Monumentalizing rituals of the Palestinian diaspora - Reema Abu Hassan has designed receptacles for the olfactory memories that are so precious to the Palestinians dispersed across the world.
The culture we breathe - Laila Al-Hamad finds in the tight-knit communities of the Gulf a social context for the appreciation of fragrance as a medium of shared experience.
Like the olive tree, Bethlehem craft persists through generations - Carving olive wood helps strengthen the tree and provides a livelihood for women like Layla to meet her many responsibilities.
Lara Salous ✿ Palestine at home - Our May Laurel goes to Lara Salous, a furniture maker in Ramallah whose woollen screen brings Palestinian culture back home.
Take a chance on art - Liat Segal presents three bodies of work that use randomness as a creative tool.
Earth Webs: Weaving into the land - Rina Peleg weaves baskets of clay in response to the shared land from which it comes.
Ran Out - Shlomit Bauman combines clay from the Negev desert with refined porcelain to embody a clash of cultures.
Shaabook silver jewellery in Oman: A secret currency of adornment - Amal Al-Ismaeli was inspired by her grandmother to discover a traditional adornment that is designed by women for women.
Tareq Qaddumi ✿ Muqla’a slingshot - A giant slingshot is adorned with Palestinian embroidery as a monument to a culture that survives despite the odds.
Dr Ghada Hijjawi-Qaddumi: An enduring legacy - A tribute to the President of the World Craft Council, who passed away on Thursday 1 April 2021.
The Crafts and Rituals of Scent in Arabia - Laila Al-Hamad opens a discussion about the role of scent in our cultures. She describes the objects and rituals that are used to made smell part of Arab life.
Laila Al Hamad ✿ The craft of smell - Kuwaiti designer Laila Al Hamad speaks about the meaning of smell in Arab cultures and how it connects people together.
Stepping out: Africa Fashion Week Middle East - Ansie van der Walt talks to organisers of a new fashion festival in the UAE and profiles leading fashion designers from the region
Al Sadu ✿ A craft tradition goes solar - Is this a future for craft traditions? Interwoven is a Chinese proposition to design a solar system that reflects the design traditions of the Al Sadu tribal rug.
Shlomit Bauman & Abed ElJaabari ✿ The earth we share - Our February laurel goes to Israeli artist Shlomit Bauman for her collaboration with Palestinian potter, Abed ElJaabari. Their combination of traditional pots and cast modern goods is a compelling use of clay as a common language.
Material culture in Arabia: Bedouin women and the art of sadu weaving - Laila Al-Hamad identifies the austerity of a Bedouin life as the inspiration for Arab design
The next Taj Mahal? - The Taj Mahal remains today as a testament to the extraordinary beauty of Persian design and craftsmanship. The skills that produced this in the seventeenth century are very much alive in Iran today.
In the Future, They Ate From the Finest Porcelain - From Dubai, an exhibition by Larissa Sansour involving an act of 'narrative terrorism' in which fake porcelain relics of an ancient Palestine are planted in a struggle for territory. Does it matter who made the plates?

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