Henna tattooing gains traction in Kenya
Khadija Ali’s precision while making intricate details to a Henna tattoo is admirable. Her outstanding skills are a result of years and years of practice.For more than ten years, the mother of two has been tracing elaborate and basic patterns onto her client’s skin.It is a job she has watched evolve with emerging generations demanding bolder, exciting designs, unlike their predecessors.“Long ago the adornment of henna was popular among the elder women to mark ceremonial celebrations such as wedding days, pilgrimages, and of Eid al-Fitr. Presently, henna is applied whenever,” she said.“The paintings were also traditional contrary to now when they have taken a life of their own,” Ali added. Henna application is a timeless form of body art in Kenya.The coastal region is perhaps the most famed destination for this particular form of body art in the whole country.The native Swahili inhabitants are believed to have learned the art after being influenced by Arabs and other visitors alongside Indians who penetrated the coastal strip in the early centuries.Since its introduction, henna painting has undergone some noticeable transformations ranging from its make-up component to the adoption of more modern designs making henna tattooing and painting mainstream.Henna is a naturally occurring dye. To obtain the final stain color, the leaves of the henna plant are dried and crushed, afterwards, the resultant powder is mixed with specific solutions to make a paste which is then applied to the skin.Once dry, henna stains the skin in the color of brown, orange, or coffee. Its lastingness is anywhere from two to three weeks.“About five years ago, there was a fad, where ladies living in urban cities wanted their eyebrows filled with henna to achieve a specific desired look. That was new in the history of henna adornment,” Ali said.Ali also attributed increased attraction to henna painting to a rise in the number of proficient henna artists.