On Sunday, 25th of January 2015, under the patronage of H.R.H. Princess Muna Al Hussein and H.R.H. Princess Wijdan Al-Hashemi, TIRAZ Centre officially opened its doors to its first exhibition, entitled ‘Golden Threads of Bethlehem,’ which celebrates the vibrant creativity, artistic cultural legacy and home-grown costume industry of Bethlehem from 1880 to 1948. TIRAZ Centre is a Jordanian, nascent organization that currently houses the largest collection of Palestinian and Jordanian traditional costumes, weavings, home utensils and jewelry, dating from the 19th and 20th centuries. The Widad Kawar Collection grew from her longstanding passion and commitment to preserve the disappearing culture and heritage of the Arab world, while TIRAZ Centre was a realization of her dream to share such extensive collection with the pubic for years to come.
The city of Bethlehem was selected as the first theme for the opening exhibition for several notable reasons. From a sentimental perspective, Bethlehem was the hometown of Widad Kawar, where she was gifted her first two traditional dresses “thob,” serving as the inspiration behind her collection. Bethlehem was also selected to recognize the historical significance of the city as an innovator in the fashion industry and the starting place of the unique and influential couching technique. The exhibition highlights the history and significance of Bethlehem; various arts and crafts from the area; the influence of the couching technique on surrounding villages and the Jerusalem area; as well as a celebration of the accomplishments of four pioneer women in the art of embroidery. The highlight of the exhibition is a gorgeous display of various masterfully embroidered dresses fit for a queen: the “malak” costume. Lastly, the exhibition includes a number of art pieces from the collection of Dr. Hisham Khatib.
“Golden Threads of Bethlehem” also features several interactive activities, such as the ’ Craftsmanship Challenge,’ an organized treasure hunt for the youth; as well as several lectures and embroidery workshops to be held on selective dates. The exhibition will conclude with a two-night concert featuring the talented music of “Dozan Wa Awtar.” The exhibition shall run till Saturday, March 28, 2015, with the following visiting hours: Sun, Tues, Wed and Thur. from 10am-4pm; Sat. from 10am-7pm; closed on Mon. and Fri.
As a non-profit organization, TIRAZ could not have realized its vision for this exhibition without the generous support and contribution of the following sponsors: Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), Bank al Etihad, Naqsh Design House, Layali Amman and Housing Bank. More importantly, TIRAZ’ objective to host three temporary exhibitions per year cannot be possible without the public’s support, encouragement and kind donations.