Samak Bilab Bi Delo: An Exposition of Palastinian Contemporary Culture Samak Bilab Bi Delo is a Palestinian saying, “The fish's tail is still wiggling”. The fisherman in Jaffa shout to eachother and me, “aa saamak bilaabbidelo”.
At Samak Bilab Bi Delo we propose to initiate a self sustaining company which combines workshops for children, work for women, support for local industry and development and survival of traditional techniques. Using the inspiration we gather from the women’s walks, storytelling and the children’s summer camp we will then use to feed into the next stage of our initiative and begin to design development for the pieces to be produced, which will in turn bring industry and income to Beit Umar.
Beit Umar is a large agricultural town nestled in the hills between Bethlehem and Hebron it is known in the region for its grape harvest. Beit Umar falls into Area C, which in accordance to the Oslo accords is an area under full Israeli civil administration and security control. Area C is the largest division in the West Bank, comprising of 60% of the territory. Area B being administered by both Palestinian and the smallest Area A being solely administered by the Palestinian authorities. Beit Umar also straddles Route 60, a Dual carriageway that follows the path of the ancient highway that runs along the length of the central watershed, and which figures prominently in the travels of the Biblical patriarchs. The town is circled by 6 Israeli settlements who are actively involved in terrorizing the inhabitants.
Within Beit Umar there is a secondary school and kindergarten, but in the long hot months of the summer neither of these run which leaves the hundreds of children which live in the town with very little to occupy themselves and many take to the unwelcoming and filthy streets. The surrounding area is far to dangerous for many outside activities and it is hard for people to leave the village at all though there is little going on there. Many young children get caught up in danger during protests and clashes, we want to create a safe and creative environment for them away from the hostilities.
Muna Ammar, the founder of the women’s centre in Beit Umar first suggested the idea of a summer camp, she mentioned similar camps have taken place in the past and have been incredibly successful. They have allowed the children a creative safe space to grow and play, giving confidence and in some ways resistance. We have are also planning on initiating a programme of safe walks for women. Though many of the women in Beit Umar are university educated, due to the customs of the area they return to the town to be married and look after their children. For many it is a struggle even to get exercise and leave their homes, and they have expressed strong desires to be able to move freely, in a women only group, through their own land. A third of what we are asking for within our budget is the costs of renting vehicles to take groups of women and children on walking trips. It is necessary to move them away from the area of Beit Umar as it is too hostile to move about freely and safely. Areas which have been suggested to us are Battir, Jericho and Ein Farah.
In reaction to this situation we have decided to conduct a 2 week summer camp for the children of Beit Umar which would involved a series of activities and classes for 60-70 children concluding in a parade/performance created by the children. Activities will include puppet making, drawing, movement and theatre workshops, making musical instruments from discarded packaging and much much more. We also aim to leave resources for play and creation for children to access after the completion of the summer camp. The support we are asking for is to cover materials for these workshops, the cost of supervisors, safe transport for the women and towards the upkeep of the women’s centre.
Using the inspiration we gather from the women’s walks, storytelling and the children’s summer camp we will then use to feed into the next stage of our initiative and begin to design development for the pieces to be produced, which will in turn bring industry and income to Beit Umar.
Here is some information about us :
I am a Fashion Designer and Couturier, graduated from London College of Fashion in 2015. I now work on bespoke pieces in collaboration with artists and musicians alongside the position of head pattern cutter and studio manager at Art School London. I was driven to react to the situation in Beit Umar and Julie’s initiation of a project in collaboration due to what I had been experiencing in my own country. The media here does not paint the full picture of events which take place in Israel and the Palestinian territories. Which leaves people here in a state panic towards countries and politics which haven’t been fully explained to them. Without the access to personal accounts of individuals experiences and everyday life; how can a nation empathize. I consider the current rise in Islamophobia in the UK devastating and can draw direct links into how it has affected current political decisions which only lower our tolerance and raise our walls.
We saw this as an opportunity for us to use our skills in art and design and our love and intrigue for the historical aesthetic of Palestinian craft and symbolism to set up a program in collaboration with existing and new groups primarily within Beit Umar and other parts of the Hebron region, to address their dwindling economy as well as an opportunity to initiate exciting and interactive projects for the revival of an ancient, individual and personal language and finally a chance for our two cultures to combine.
I am a Visual Artist, practicing Performance and Plastic art. After moving to Tel Aviv from London in 2015, I felt a responsibility to investigate the Palestinian reality and to explore the incomparable quality of life between myself and my neighbours. After expressing my desire to work with Rutie at Windows, I joined a trip to Bayt Ummar in order to meet with Muna and see the village and understand how I could somehow be of service. As my background is in Art (I studied for 2 years at Camberwell College of Art in London) Muna suggested that I look for a market for the pieces of embroidery, sewn into scarfs, bags and purses. Thinking this a relatively easy challenge, I set about contacting every British university with a Palestinian solidarity societies in order to share with them this possibility to directly support Palestinians in a severely unemployed village. To my surprise and chagrin, not one of the members of any of the societies from any of the universities responded to this opportunity.
This lead to ruminate over the strength that an independent project could generate, where there is a personal connection between the buyer and the seller. This project is an attempt to generate an income for the women of Bayt Umar, through an intimate, examined and contemporary process. There is also a demand from many of the same woman in the Village for a space for women to exercise together, creating a sense of community and a positive body awareness. During the warmer months of Spring, a woman’s walking group will begin where the woman can act in a way of reclaiming an ancient Palestinian practice of walking to the Wadi, severely disrupted by the construction of barriers, roads, and borders. When the textile products have been produced, I will be working with the makers of the clothes, the women's centre as well as other Palestinian artists to create a performance ceremony for this work.
This first stage of funding will contribute to the support we need to complete stage one of this venture, the children’s summer camp. This camp will take place over two weeks of the school holidays in Beit Ummar where the children would otherwise be roaming the streets which are becoming increasingly dangerous and polluted. The camp will involve a range of group activities based on arts, crafts, storytelling and theatre workshops to finalise with a performance/parade using puppets, costumes and movement gathered from the workshops. The images and footage recorded during this camp will inspire stage two of the venture and the products realised from this will feed into supporting the summer camp in the following years.
Here is a breakdown of how the money raised will be spent :
Program activity costs £450
Program activity travel £1000
Location for camp £200
We can provide a more detail on request