Buteina, a native of ‘Ar’ara, transfers the heritage of Palestinian embroidery to the language of modern art. She looks uprightly, as a Palestinian female artist with Israeli citizenship, at her external world from inside her internal world of sensation, feeling.
Long pieces of white fabric are woven and sewn as cartography – dealing with the preparation of maps and in researching the process. Many stickpins are attached to the work along its entire length, penetrating, awakening shivers and apprehension.
Knots are woven connecting between past and present, between authentic and modern, between identity, time and place.
Buteina dips the fabrics in wax, covers and sets them in place. The wax, which in the past served for signets and sealing, is on the one hand stiff and on the other hand fragile, malleable and flammable. The fabric and the strings can serve as a wick.
The embroidered strings and the wax create a feeling of fabric which was created from pulling hairs, and the pins express the pain.
Buteina creates in a consistent formed language, through a female perspective. When moving from work to work, one feels the practical work activity duplicating itself and defined as a female technique. Tying, sewing, embroidery, connecting, stabbing and pain. There is no dull moment. The dipping in wax creates a time-out to think, to look inside oneself and to digest.
Her work is sensitive and becomes iconic.
–Etti Amram and Osnat Ben Shalom, Arts Center of Givat, Haviva
Buthina Milhem was born in the Arara Village in Israel, where she still live and works. Her work has been shown in various venues around the world, including the SOFA expo in Chicago, Illinois; Snyderman Gallery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; the Peace Center in Antwerp, Belgiam; the Art Gallery Um el Fahem in Israel; and the Ashdod Museum in Israel.