Nour Hage: Kheit خيط | Exhibition and Events Programme

28 April '23 at 10:00 am - 16 July '23 at 5:00 pm

Nour Hage: Kheit خيط  (28 April – 16 July 2023) is an exhibition and event series in collaboration with Leighton House, the 19th century home of artist Lord Frederic Leighton. Meaning ‘thread’ in Arabic, Kheit presents three artworks created in response to the tiles in the Arab Hall and staircase hall. An award-wining textile artist, Nour has also researched the museum’s collection of antique textiles, featuring Syrian clothing, Ottoman hangings and runners, and Iranian carpets. During Leighton’s lifetime textiles, in particular from the Middle East and North Africa, were a prominent decorative feature in his house,  and over the last two years the museum has acquired and displayed significant pieces to recreate the original  interiors.

Drawing inspiration from the mosaic frieze designed by Walter Crane (1845-1915) for the Arab Hall, Nour has created Her Rays and Sukun, representing the sun and the moon through colour and texture. In Her Rays, golden brown silk and cotton braids hang down suggesting the sun’s rays. In contrast in Sukun, the moon’s cool serenity and calm is reflected in pale grey and purple tones. This piece was woven on a circular loom in a technique crafted by the artist and is surrounded by braids. In West Asian culture, braids are believed to lock in the evil eye and bad energy.

The colours of the pieces were informed by some verses found in a calligraphic tile panel on the staircase at Leighton House, attributed to Sheikh Muhammad Jamal ud-Din al-Makki al Amili, a fourteenth century poet from Jezzine, the artist’s hometown in Lebanon. Nour dyed the fabrics using sumac berries gathered from Jezzine, to obtain the darker brown hues for Her Rays. She then further soaked the fabrics in an iron bath, made from rusty nails found in the artist’s new home in Dubai, to achieve the cool greyish purple tones for Sukun.

Also on display is Our Garden, co-produced with eight local residents, invited to participate in a series of workshops to create embroidered symbols which had a personal significance for them. Stitched together, the resulting piece is presented as a talismanic object, imbued with each participant’s intentions.

Our Garden reminisces of a Palestinian tradition where women from one family or community embroider and stitch together a wedding trousseau which the bride keeps her entire life, carrying memories and her matrilineal lineage with her. The technique used for Our Garden mirrors traditional Turkish towels, typically embroidered by women using silk thread, gold wire or flat gold strips to create different textures. An example of a Turkish towel from the museum’s collection is on display in the exhibition room.

The artwork is complimented by digital resources and an extensive events programme exploring the threads connecting Britain and the Arab world in the 19th and early 20th Centuries.

Kheit is a collaboration between Leighton House and The Arab British Centre, part of our Arab Britain programming theme that sets out to explore and document the history, achievements and experiences of Arabs in Britain.  Funded by The Barakat Trust’s Hands on Islamic Art grant, made possible by the National Heritage Lottery Fund.



Stitch & Bitch: Herstory of women’s craft and the matrilineal transmission of identity
28 April, 6.30pm

Stitching Circle #1
30 April, 10am
Free, booking essential

Stitching Circle #2
14 May, 10am
Free, booking essential

Stitching Circle #3
28 May, 10am
Free, booking essential

Family Fun: Introduction to Palestinian Embroidery
10 June, 11am

Tatreez: Introduction to Palestinian Embroidery
10 June, 2pm

Stitching Circle
11 June, 10am

Make Beaut and Mend, with Aya Haidar
19 June, 10am

Introduction to Palestinian Embroidery for Young Adults
24 June, 2pm

Stitching Circle
25 June, 10am

Stitching Circle
9 July, 10am

Rewriting History: An Afternoon of Play and Experimentation Exploring the History of Arabs in Britain
12 July, 2-4pm


Artist’s bio 

Nour Hage is an award-winning British-Lebanese artist and designer, working across textile and digital. Her practice is centred on the exploration of West Asian identities, culture, history & storytelling with a particular focus on the role of women, the supernatural and mental wellbeing.

She was the inaugural Jameel Fellow at the V&A Museum in 2021-22 and was awarded the Boghossian Foundation Prize in 2014. She graduated from Parsons School of Design (Paris) with a BFA in Fashion Design.

She has exhibited at Dr Johnson’s House (London), The Albany/Haramacy Residency (London), Nowhere (NYC), Foundation (digital) and has an upcoming solo exhibition at Leighton House (London) in 2023.  She is based between London and Dubai.


Leighton House

12 Holland Park Rd, London W14 8LZ


The Arab British Centre and Leighton House