A selection of professional experts in the field who bring unique discipline knowledge and technical skills in order to more effectively augment the The Zay Initiative. Provide scholastic, educational and mentoring advice. Will participate in biannual conferences and present research papers.
– WIDAD KAMEL KAWAR (PALESTINE/JORDAN)
Owner of The Tiraz Center, The Widad Qawar home for Arab Dress. The collection includes the most comprehensive number of Palestinian, Jordanian and other Arab costumes. Widad is a leading patron of the preservation and modernization of the art of dress. She is a mentor to writers, journalists, researchers and museums. She succeeded in raising awareness of the value of Arab textile heritage through many international exhibitions; including Bahrain, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, Jordan, Iceland, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and the United Arab Emirates. She published several books and articles, received several medals from the government of Jordan, and is a recipient of the Prince Klaus International Award for Culture and Development for “her invaluable contribution to securing global heritage”.
– SHAHIRA MEHREZ (EGYPT)
A lifelong supporter of Middle Eastern arts, Mehrez began collecting and archiving Egyptian peasant dresses as a teenager. She holds a master’s degree in Islamic art and runs El Arish, a Sinai-based women’s collective that produces hand-embroidered Bedouin pieces. Passionate in preserving traditional crafts and domestic resources while updating them for contemporary audiences, Shahira is as fierce as ever. Her collection of over 500 dresses, which is the largest in Egypt (and possibly the world), ranges from heavy black wool Bedouin Sinai cloaks to bright cotton Nile Delta prints decorated with ribbon and Siwan dresses finished with mother-of-pearl buttons.
– Dr. GILLIAN VOGELSANG (NETHERLANDS)
A professional textile and dress historian (Ph.D. Manchester University), who worked as textile archaeologist in the Middle East for many years. She is the author of numerous books and articles on the subject of textiles and dress, and is the main editor and author of the Bloomsbury (London) series Encyclopedia of Embroidery from …. series. The first volume in this series, the Encyclopedia of Embroidery from the Arab World (Dartmouth Medal 2017). The second volume, on the embroidery from Central Asia, the Iranian Plateau and the Indian subcontinent, is due late 2019. Dr. Vogelsang-Eastwood is currently the director of the Textile Research Centre, Leiden (The Netherlands).
– Dr. LAYLA AL BASSAM (KSA)
A published author, she received her BA in 1979 as she was teaching at the Girl’s Collage of Education in Riyadh. She obtained her MA in 1983 and, soon after, her PhD in 1988. Both were in clothing and textiles from the Girl’s College of Education. In 1995 she became an associate professor in the department of home economics at the same college. A member of many national & international associations such as the Committee on Heritage in Al Nahda Women’s Welfare Association, the Advisory Committee in the National Museum KSA, the Gulf Council Committee, the Textile Museum in Washington, DC. Awarded the King Salman Prize of Excellence for Research and Studies on The Arabian Peninsula History and recognized as the first Saudi woman to study traditional Saudi costume and textiles.
– LAILA Y. PIO (IRAQ)
A well recognized as a leading women expert in Iraq to work in the field of old oriental textiles and carpets. She lectures on old Iraqi textiles and the art of carpet weaving. She curates exhibitions of her own collection of Iraqi textiles, and participates in international conferences on the subject. Published several papers on the topic and co-authored with Widad Kamel Kawar and Caroline Stone The “Encyclopedia of Embroidery in the Arab World “by Gillian Voglsang-Estwood.
– HANA SADIQ (IRAQ/JORDAN)
A renowned fashion designer specializing in the integration of Arabic art with the best of Haute Couture. Hana is also an anthropologist dedicated in the study Arabic jewelry, traditional Arab costumes. She has been published several times in her field of expertise.