Student Lens: Orland Park Art Studio Offers a Taste of Palestine

Last Updated by Gladys Roman , Zaina Kahuk on

By Zaina Kahuk

For many children of immigrants, keeping in touch with one’s culture and traditions can be a struggle.

Jumana Al-Qawasmi created Watan Studios in an attempt to inspire other Palestinians to examine their folklore and heritage. Watan, which means "home" in Arabic, is a space dedicated to the local Palestinian community to explore their cultural identity, a space “created by Palestinian youth, for Palestinian youth,” said Qawasmi.

The 25 year old graduate student at Loyola University Chicago, fills up her shop located in Orland Park with intricately designed stickers, patches, pins, jewelry and t-shirts.  Al-Qawasmi says she wants her designs to be a reflection of her generation’s experiences, struggles and triumphs as she creates a Wikipedia of Palestinian history.

Watan isn’t just a place for fashion and art, Al-Qawasmi has hosted events which included tatreez (Palestinian embroidery) classes, a talk with Palestinian graphic artist Mohammad Sabaaneh, and painting classes.