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Yasmeen Mjalli is a Palestinian creative living in Ramallah. She explores land and people through her love for natural dyeing, weaving, traditional embroidery, and film photography. She’s usually waiting for or making the most of fig season.
In what ways does nature inspire or inform your work?
Nature is an inextricable part of Palestinian life—we are both stewards of the Earth and recipients of her gifts. Our lives are aligned with the seasons. We enjoy the fruits of each season, forming generational rituals like spending a summer morning picking grape leaves so that the our mothers and aunties roll them with rice for lunch, all while chatting, story-telling, or singing. The land informs our rituals, making its way into the motifs of our embroidery, the songs we sing, and the dishes we wait all year to be able to make and enjoy.
My love for Palestine is rooted in the land and my heartbreak for Palestine is rooted in the way our land is disappearing. As a result, my work seeks to crystallize the land in a moment that might be stretched out into a story—either through film or through a garment.
What does it mean to you to be part of a thriving ecosystem?
To be part of an ecosystem is to listen to the stories the land is telling. Nature is a storyteller with a voice that transcends language, understood on a deeper and more instinctual level to those who know how to listen for them. Then we see that we our in the stories. That starts to shift our understanding of and relationship with nature.