The Ceremonial Vniform :: Birzeit Vniversity Mvsevm is a design exhibition focusing on the manifestations of dress, material and cultural history, identity politics, magic, gender and sexuality. Birzeit University Museum has invited designer Omarivs Ioseph Filivs Dinæ to create this exhibition in its complementary capacity to the Museum’s approach towards contemporary creative practices and its critical reading of “cultural heritage” and social history.
The Ceremonial Vniform project started in 2012 as a reaction to the Palestinian National Authority’s statehood bid and frenzied campaign to acquire the status of full member in the United Nations. As a collection of garments, accessories, samples, techniques, and texts, The Ceremonial Vniform is an imagined system of dress for male officials in this would-be Palestinian state. The project further contemplates the particularities of dress and how it is used as a tool and symbol of power, identity, subjugation and liberation. The project critiques the obsessive regurgitation of clichés and symbols by the Palestinian political and creative classes and how they have actually become complicit in the colonial industrial complex and therefore its benefactors. The project is a commentary on how rarely we create alternative paradigms – instead we appropriate the pervading narrative of power structures; we simply change uniform.
Since its inception The Ceremonial Vniform has relied tremendously on the ethnographic collections at Birzeit University Museum for information and inspiration. The exhibition, showcases items from the Palestinian Costume and Tawfik Canaan Amulet collections in the context in which they were used and their part and role in the realization of this project.
The Ceremonial Vniform :: Birzeit Vniversity Mvsevm exhibition emphasizes on design practice as a discipline and structural approach grounded in technique, methodology and theory. The exhibition aims to expose the process, systems, and layers of design work carried out by Omarivs Ioseph to accomplish this project. There is particular stress on quality of finish, skill, and research as the cardinal columns of this endeavor.
In line with the project’s concept and the designer’s ideology this exhibition was independently funded by the Museum and realized without the usual sprinkling of donor or sponsor logos. The designer has been keen to look for alternative and creative solutions to what he describes as ‘the impossible situation of too little or too much funding.’
Omarivs Ioseph Filivs Dinæ experiments with historical and contemporary Palestinian fabrics, techniques, and systems in an attempt to delineate the physical and theoretical scope and limits of dress. For The Ceremonial Vniform he has worked with shoemakers from Ramallah (Rahale), mother-of-pearl carvers from Beit-Sahour (Tamer), and embroiderers from Yatta and Beirut (INAASH-Association for the Development of Palestinian Camps in Lebanon). In addition, the work includes several collaborations with local and regional Arab creative, like Palestinian artist Dirar Kalash and Palestinian musician Maya Khaldi, as well as Lebanese photographer and artist Tarek Moukaddem who has worked with the designer since 2009.