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Disruptive life events, devastating experiences of loss and harm, and human rights violations often urge to narrate and share these experiences. Yet, because of their painful and overwhelming nature, they can simultaneously hinder expression and communication in (exclusively) spoken or written language.
In Shatila, a refugee camp in the South of Beirut, the language of embroidery has been present since it was established in 1949 to host Palestinian refugees. Embroidery is a day-to-day gendered activity rooted in the region’s rich textile tradition. When the war in neighboring Syria sparked an influx of new refugees into the camp, embroidery practices increased to generate an income, to foster a new social network, to cope with trauma, and to tell stories about lived experiences.
The book ‘Migrating Heritage’ stems from the artistic research project of Sofie Verclyte about embroidery’s narrative function. It features individual embroidered stories of Syrian women living in Shatila, co-created embroidered collages, and photographs taken by photographer Aaron Lapeirre that visualize the (making) context.