Yasser Barakat, a native Jerusalemite, graduated from Roosevelt University in Chicago. He returned to Palestine in 1972 and taught mathematics at two of Jerusalem’s premier schools. Preparing to establish his business in his father’s shop, Yasser started collecting Palestinian dresses and a variety of artwork when he was 19 years old. Well before he opened his own gallery, Yasser amassed a beautiful collection of Palestinian dresses, cushions, hats and silver pieces. To this day, Yasser continues to search for and buy old and unique Palestinian artwork wherever he can find it.
Yasser is very attached to the Old City of Jerusalem. His daily walks to and from his shop over the past thirty years now form a central part of his life. Through his shop he has formed lasting friendships with people from all around the world. Friends enjoy sitting in his gallery, sipping coffee or tea, and talking about art, politics and philosophy. The shop has become a meeting place for friends and art lovers alike from all around the world.
Yasser Barakat Gallery
The Yasser Barakat Gallery, established in 1972 and located in the Old City of Jerusalem, offers a wide range of old Palestinian artwork, David Roberts lithographs (original 1840s and 1850s pieces), steel engraving and maps from the 16th and 17th centuries. Additionally, there is a magnificent collection of Persian, Turkish, Afghani and Palestinian carpets.
Upon taking a closer look at the rare Palestinian pieces that Yasser Barakat’s Gallery holds, one realises the beauty and depth of the Palestinian heritage. Over time, Yasser grew to understand that Palestinian heritage and artwork, especially embroidery, is being lost and neglected. To address this, he created a studio to collect Palestinian dresses and jewellery, and has since worked to safeguard the history of Palestinian embroidery and artwork.
Yasser and his team creatively design and offer art pieces in a newer and preserved manner. All pieces done by Yasser are finished with the Manjal stitch around the borders, which holds the embroidery and highlights its beauty. The embroidery styles come from dresses and jewellery from all regions of Palestine. Old dresses that have been long neglected and nearly ruined are fixed up, worked on and preserved on newer fabrics and in unique framings. Each dress holds a story behind it, and Yasser can spend hours explaining the meaning behind every piece of embroidery, describing the village in Palestine it came from and the meaning behind each piece. Within its stitches and colours lays stories of Palestine that need to be propagated.