Ola Sawaie

Date: Mar 15 – Mar 28Space: Small Gallery

Intertwined by Ola Sawaie

Intertwined stands as a response to the fifth anniversary of Christchurch terror attack and the ongoing war in the Middle East. It is a celebration of pattern and colour that honours the role of Palestinian and Māori wāhine (women) exemplifying silent resistance through cross-stitching and weaving.

Ola Sawaie is an artist and designer originally from Jordan now living in Te Matau-a-Māui Hawkes Bay, New Zealand. In this show, she connects the two worlds of Palestinian tatreez (embroidery) and Māori raranga and pūeru (weaving and textiles). In 2022, Ola was gifted leftover embroidered fabrics from Um Ahlam and other wāhine who live in the Al Baqa’a refugee camp in Jordan. She was later gifted poi cords (whiri) made by two Māori wāhine, Waitangi and her daughter Tiahopō. Ola experiments with mixing Palestinian tatreez (embroidery) with Māori textiles inspired by the poi and the korowai. As a Jordanian-Kiwi, she reflects her own hyphenated cultural identity in her cross-cultural designs.

In Intertwined, the textile pieces echo many layers and meanings of cultural identity, resistance, and the pursuit of peace. Groups of women from two different cultures (Palestinian and Māori) gather to talk, cross-stich, weave, pass their stories, and display their resilience. Ola’s interventions bring these two worlds together to highlight the possibility of different cultures living in harmony.

In addition to textiles, Intertwined includes watercolour drawings, photography, graphic design, and product design that reflect further explorations into the commingling of Māori and Islamic/Arabic modes of art.

Opening evening Friday, 15th March 5 – 7pm 

All welcome!

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