Samira Jubran of Germantown is regarded as Tennessee’s finest practitioner of Tatreez, a form of embroidery that involves the meditative movement of threaded needle through fabric resulting in a colorful and intricate cross-stitch pattern. Tatreez embroidery appears in a wide variety of objects, including wall hangings, scarves, table covers and thobs, traditional Palestinian dresses. Samira comes from many generations of embroiderers and first learned the tradition at 10 years old while living in her parents’ home in Ramallah. She has actively worked to preserve the tradition in Tennessee for many years, most notably through the Germantown International Festival, an event she founded. Her work was exhibited at the Tennessee Arts Commission in 2012.
“I share this tradition with the global community in Shelby County. I have a photo booth at the festival where people dress up in these beautiful embroidered thobs and put on embroidered headpieces for the picture. I share my cultural identity with everyone in Tennessee. I’m proud of my Tatreez.”
Tatreez is typically passed from mother to daughter. Keeping with tradition, Samira’s apprentice is her daughter Areej Itayem. A skilled and talented artist, Areej holds a degree in fine art from George Washington University. She has engaged traditional arts over the course of her life and is eager to further develop her embroidery skills. “Tatreez embroidery is in my family, my community, and my ethnic representation,” she says. “In this day and age, I believe remembering and preserving our cultural art forms is just as important as remaining current.”