Inside the Ain El-Hilweh refugee camp in Southern Lebanon, the walls are awash in color. Soft brushstrokes and calligraphic swirls filled with optimism decorate the space, as a delightful representation of French-Tunisian artist el Seed’s views on coexistence, peace and humanity. Called ‘The Journey’, these artworks are a part of his latest collaboration with the social enterprise 81 Designs.
Taking a cue from a poem by Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, the seven murals will be translated into traditional Palestinian embroidery Tatreez on canvas, all hand-stitched by refugee women artisans. “We have always appreciated the delicacy of Tatreez” Nadine Malouf, co-founder of 81 Designs, said in a release.
“The art of Tatreez is part of our Arab heritage and just by looking at the beautiful handmade crafts, it’s something that we must be proud of.” And so, 81 Designs was born as a vehicle that brings art and humanity together by showcasing the talents of refugee artisans, and to employ them at the same time to restore hope in building their future.
In keeping with the Year of Tolerance, the project will be presented at a 3-D booth during the 11th edition of Abu Dhabi Art from 20-23 November at Manarat Al Saadiyat. Alongside the artworks, a limited edition of figurines, each named after the refugee women and children who participated in ‘The Journey’, will be on view.
The idea behind 81 Designs’ endeavor is to preserve and modernize Tatreez, while facilitating refugee women to become self-sufficient and channel their creativity into works that will be showcased on an international platform. Interestingly, the name of the project, ‘The Journey’, came about when one of the refugees referenced it as such as she pained the murals, a remarkable feat and source of hope.
Each art work that is a limited edition of eL Seed’s murals will be available for $10,000. Each hand stitched figurine is available in three sizes. Prices are AED 578 (35cm), AED 368 (23cm) and AED 263 (19cm). Follow @81designsme