Our Roots – Raji Hamideh and Maysan Hasan

Taking this class together has been a wonderful experience as a couple, especially because we’ve been working together on many projects. This project was bittersweet because it was the last one. We knew we wanted to do it on something personal, but didn’t know what. Suddenly it hit us: Our ancestors. One’s culture could be extremely biassed when it comes to marriage. Parents and family members want their kids to marry into their own culture. This is particularly true in the Palestinian culture. Given that Palestine is slowly losing its territory and presence worldwide, Palestinians feel the need to preserve it. That’s why it was a shock for everyone involved when a mixed boy with Cuban, Peruvian and just a quarter Palestinian blood asked a full-on Palestinian girl for her hand. Years later, and with all the drama behind we sat down and decided to make a tatreez (cross-stitching) which represented our roots and how our marriage unified us, and who knows, maybe we’ll show it to our future kids. For our actual visual project, we knew we wanted to incorporate Palestinian style cross stitching because we had attended numerous weddings and the Palestinian dresses with complex designs looked mesmerizing. We got inspired by the dresses, Memories from our henna (a traditional party before the wedding day) and designs from Wafa Ghnaim to make these symbolic work of art. 

Our goal for this final project was to easily provide an outline of our roots and how our marriage has joined two different worlds. One in which the husband can barely speak Arabic, and is more attached to his Latino side, and another one in which the girl grew up speaking Arabic and attending such events almost every month. We decided to make the color pattern brownish to represent our roots. Gathering data was not very hard, but to get into more detail Maysan called her parents in New York while Raji asked his here in San Diego. It all led to an expected answer. Maysan is 100% Palestinian while Raji is 50% Cuban, 25% Peruvian and 25% Palestinian. The cross-stitching has a diamond that represents us, inside there are four dots that represent our parents and three big pillars coming out of the diamond which represents our three cultures.