The new digital and social media to discover Arabia and the Middle East. Offbeat. Innovative.

The henna, a tradition that is taking a step into modernity

Credits : @dr.azra

Many of them are making a name for themselves on Instagram, these "henna artists" who shake up the genre's codes by integrating styles, drawings and movements that are not influenced by tradition into their creations. A fresh wind of fresh air on a practice that is still very popular in the Arab world.

They are young, inspired, and they are changing the practice of henna tattooing. These women are called Azra Khamissa, or Nora Aalit, are Emirati or Moroccan, and they all have in common the fresh touch they bring to a discipline that really needed a touch of modernity.

 

Between tradition and modernity

Henna is an ancient art. Henna paste is obtained by mixing henna plant powder with a liquid that can vary according to preference, then applied to the skin with a brush, plastic cone or needle-free syringe. Traditionally, the motifs are floral, abstract, and very symbolic of the East. It is a practice to which, for its aesthetics, is attributed the virtues of female seduction, especially for brides. 

 

However, these are codes that are not necessarily found in the work of Azra Khamissa, a Canadian and South African fashion designer based in the United Arab Emirates. Based on Instagram’s feedback, the young influencer noticed a very strong interest in the most atypical designs. A shift that, it seems, was expected by the community, judging by the growth in the number of followers of the young artist. 

 

Henna is a hit in Europe

Nora Aalit was born in Morocco but moved to the United Kingdom very early on. Based in Hackney, she has built a reputation by combining her practical training in henna drawing with her university studies in design. This has given rise to very contemporary creations, breaking with the very traditional patterns that are usually found. Her increased notoriety has earned her company, Hackney Henna House, among other honours, a recent invitation to the first of the Fantastic Creatures: Grindelwald’s Crimes, the last part of Harry Potter’s spin-off, to tattoo the palms of actor Ezra Miller.

 

It is also not the only one to update and democratize henna tattoos in the Old Continent. In Denmark, Copenhagen-based artist Henna København presents works with similar inspirations…