Tradition Reinterpreted

Say you are a tourist in this country with a long history of handcrafts or maybe you are in the Middle East, and you want to buy some souvenir. The chances are most of the souvenir shops will try to sell you some "culture" which has no relevance or genuineness (can't stand walking towards the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, can't stand seeing another tourist buying a fez).

What I like is the contemporary interpretation of that culture rather than forcing it to be something that pretends to be that culture, which is usually a contemporary misinterpretation.

If you are in Amman, you must definitely see the Jordan River Foundation Showroom, which is towards the end of the famous Rainbow Street on the left-hand side. Founded in 1995, the JFR works with Jordanian designers to reimagine the traditional crafts and support local women by including them in the whole work. The main idea here is to challenge social injustice and to create a culture which speaks more of a universal language.

When I and my husband visited the showroom yesterday, we couldn't take off our eyes of pillows, coffee tables and many accessories which were distinctively local with a modern touch. I especially liked the horse figures trying to come out of the pillows and swinging on the tables. Seeing them in search of their full potential or trapped depends on the viewer.

The prices are ghaali kteer (this is not IKEA and that's what you're looking for) but all the revenue goes to the Jordan River Foundation which is running projects for women's empowerment and against child abuse. Even if you don't have the budget, mish mushkila, the showroom offers a museum experience and a fresh feeling with its great garden.

So, why not spoil yourself with some horse spirit?

02.04.2016

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