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Stitching Together Stories: The UAE National Day Patchwork Quilt

Farida Talaat, a Dubai-based artist, conducted a one-of-a-kind initiative in honour of the UAE National Day, partnering with the sewing community on a particular project.

Dubai-based artist Farida Talaat led a unique endeavor in anticipation of the UAE National Day, collaborating with the sewing community on a special project. 

The initiative gathered participants from Dubai and Abu Dhabi, urging them to contribute to a patchwork quilt centered on “What the UAE Means to Me” in honor of the country’s 52nd National Day.

Crafting Personal Narratives in Fabric:

Each patch on the quilt represents an individual’s narrative, encapsulating their connection to the UAE. 

Farida emphasized the diverse crafting methods employed, ranging from knitting, crochet, and cross-stitchery to appliqués, intricate beadwork, and both hand- and machine-embroidery, allowing each square to tell its quiltmaker’s unique story.

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Symbolism and Representation in Fabric:

The quilt showcases quintessential UAE symbols like palm trees, camels, dunes, dates, a country map, and a henna-adorned hand. 

These motifs are depicted in various squares, portraying the beauty of the desert and conveying themes of home, community, family, and aspirations, representing the diverse perspectives of expatriates living in the UAE.

A Personal Tribute to the Adopted Home:

As a Canadian national who has called the UAE home since childhood, Farida expressed that the patchwork quilt is a heartfelt testament to her profound connection with the country, reflecting her love for her adopted home.

Participants from different parts of the UAE contributed unique squares to the quilt, each sharing a personal story about their relationship with the nation. 

Noteworthy contributions included vibrant patchwork from Lamia Bentellis of Algeria, a 3D knitted heart by Somaya Abdel Kader from Egypt, and artistic depictions of landmarks by Sue Markou from Canada.

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Celebrating Diversity Through Threads:

Vidhya Michael of India stitched a square resembling the UAE flag, encapsulating the word ‘Home’ within its design, symbolizing her enduring connection despite spending more time in the UAE than in her homeland. 

Malika Rehman showcased the enduring spirit of the UAE through her square depicting a camel and palm tree amidst sandy dunes.

Crafting Hope and Optimism for the Future:

Farida’s contribution to the quilt highlighted hues of blue and green, representing the sea and lush greenery amidst the desert. 

The inclusion of a metallic silver fabric in the shape of the Museum of the Future conveyed her optimistic vision for the UAE’s promising future.

After assembling the quilt squares into rows and columns, the completed quilt was unveiled, reflecting the contributors’ collective effort, love, and dedication. 

Farida expressed her satisfaction in uniting passionate crafters and their shared love for the UAE, calling it a patriotic and sentimental work.

Fostering Connections and Shared Appreciation:

Reflecting on the project, Farida highlighted the joy of connecting with friends and strangers, fostering conversations around their shared love and appreciation for their second home. 

She affirmed that this collective effort embodies what the UAE means to her—a celebration of unity and creativity.

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