Today I had the chance to talk to the South African artist responsible for the ‘yarn bombing’ that has been going on in Nablus over the last few days. Understandably she was unwilling for me to share her name as she was anxious that it would affect her upcoming visa application, but she kindly explained some of the ideas and motivations behind these artworks.
The artist used yarn bombing (wrapping objects in woollen crochets) to juxtapose the playful, creative process involved in making these colourful pieces, with the very real threat of bombing more normally associated with life in Palestine. The artist chose trees specifically for their symbolism relating to hope, vitality and growth.
The artist worked with ladies from Askar to create the patches of crotchet which were later stitched together around the trees, bringing splashes of colour to the park, the Municipal Library and the Child Cultural Centre. The tree at the CCC was in fact planted by Yasser Arafat, so this combined with the yarn bombing gives a redoubled effect.
I would definitely recommend keeping an eye out for these artworks over the next couple of days.
The manufacturer went through the various steps of the Oud-making process and mentioned how it takes 60 to 90 days in total to create an Oud! All of this was interwoven with some beautiful harmonious tunes by Ali and the Danish band, creating a very special experience for anyone present.
From the leaflet:
"'Where are we heading? The Oum Sa'd family' capures moments in the life of a family from Nablus: the family's trials and tribulations, hopes and endurances. The Ou'm Sa'd family is like so many Palestinian families, whose daily reality is life under occupation, and who must constantly make tough choices and come to terms with loss, restrictions and violence."
Osama Malhas, an esteemed playwright and director, has come together with 12 local Nabulsi students and some of Medecins Sans Frontieres' psychologists and social workers, to develop this play. The production acts as a discussion of many of the important issues that face Palestinians on a daily basis and of how different people react in different ways to these stressful scenarios.
The performance was interactive, with audience memebers able to voice their ideas and opinions throughout - people should be encouraged to speak out about what they think and feel and should discuss their experiences. I think that this was the core concept for the play as a whole: it is vital both for the mental health of the people living here and for the propagation and dissemination of information regarding the occupation around the world.
Last night the Khan Al Wakala was left yelling for more after HK et les Saltimbanks’ mesmeric performance.
Clearly well versed in getting a crowd going, by the end of their diverse set, there was hardly a person left sitting and in fact many were dancing on their chairs.
Singing equally comfortably in Arabic, French and Engligh enabled the entire audience to get involved and understand the important messages behind many of their songs.
“On Lâche rien” proved especially stirring, with much of the audience chanting along, fists pumping the air.
I have never seen a group skip between genres, subject matter, and language so successfully and I’m excited to listen to some more of their music.
I get to the Miriam Hachim center with two other volunteers, all of us equally uncertain if we are in the right place. But it is 10:30 and a stream of Palestinian woman are walking by carrying platters of baklava and rolled grape leaves so there is no doubt that we are. In the centre that is the location for oldest woman's institute in Nablus, there is a flurry of activity as men and women rush to arrange the final touches on their dishes in order to lay them out on the large table in front of the four French judges.
After a few announcements the testing starts, for the judges, as well as for the audience who are privy to the platters of jibne and zaatar bread. As the plates of marghshe (stuffed zucchini with meat in a yoghurt sauce) and mujadera (lentils and rice with vegetables and fried onions) come I realize very quickly that I shouldn't have pounced so quickly on the zaatar bread. By the end of the savory tasting the judges have the hollow eyes of those that have seen and eaten too much. New judges are obliged to be escorted in for the heloweyat (sweets). Platters and platters of bin arren (knefeh with cream), chocolate cake and baklava follow. A few of us are taken into the kitchen to try the fatir (a type of Nablusi sweet with cream) of one of the chefs.
Though we are not able to stay till the end to hear the results, all the cooks were winners in my mind, as I am sure the Palestinians and internationals attending will agree. A wholly delicious event.