Janelle De Souza
For more than 18 decades visual artist and physique artwork professional, Aneesa Karim, has been producing spectacular layouts on people’s pores and skin utilizing henna. But the covid19 pandemic has altered how folks live and work which pressured her to make some massive modifications to her business enterprise design in buy to keep her organization alive.
Karim, 33, the proprietor of Diosa System Art and Design, practises the artform of mehndi, the painting of the overall body making use of henna. Henna is a dye manufactured by drying the leaves of the henna tree, grinding it into powder and adding substances, which includes water and necessary oils, to turn it into a paste which stains but fades on the pores and skin inside of a couple days.
She explained to WMN her organization came to a halt when the pandemic started in 2020 given that most of her appointments have been property calls which could acquire several hours dependent on the measurement and intricacy of her types.
As a substitute of offering up, she made a decision to develop other sides of her creativeness, and adapted her perform to build far more everlasting visual art pieces.
“I wasn’t finding bookings, when I got them I wasn’t taking bookings, and I stopped undertaking household phone calls mainly because I have asthma. So I had to adapt and evolve my company. Luckily I am a artistic so I said, ‘Even although I’m a overall body art skilled, I have this ability of making use of this medium to the human physique. Why not use paint in its place of henna and apply it to other things and emphasis much more on craft?’”
In the past brides questioned her to do decorate pottery or votive candles for their weddings so she expanded on that premise and makes use of her piping skills and applied it to decorating pottery, wooden memento boxes, candles and canvas.
Though various, she enjoys the modify as she receives to consider her time to explore and experiment with henna software strategies making use of paint, which is lengthier lasting.
She contacted Junckollage Gypsy Caravan at the Queen’s Park Oval in Port of Spain about promoting her function at the store which the proprietor agreed to in September. She was later contacted by the proprietor of Greetings Present Store, a Hallmark shop in Mid Centre Shopping mall, Chaguanas, who wished to have her popular hand-painted items.
“While the human body as a canvas for my artwork is always a welcome challenge, particularly with design and style placement and the prospect to fulfill new people and make new mates, I intend to carry on making extra long term parts of artwork.
“I’ve had fascination in my pieces from global customers, however, obtaining paid is not easy for little organizations like mine. Though the choice for wire transfer is there, it is not as expense efficient. Paypal is the preferred approach by most, which is not commonly accessible to get direct cash, including fx, due to our area banking programs. Getting a credit history card for a compact company is also not straightforward. This is a major setback to then advancement and enlargement of my enterprise.”
The classroom artist for everyone
Karim was introduced to henna entire body art whilst attending Lakshmi Girls’ Hindu Faculty.
“I was the course artist so when a friend introduced a henna cone from the puja retail store from the Indian Expo, all people was like, ‘Give it to Aneesa. Enable her determine out how to use the matter.’”
She always loved drawing and portray, particularly graphite drawing and h2o color portray, and did visual arts at the CXC degree. Carrying out mehndi flowed naturally with this skill so she questioned her art teacher, who was from India, about it and was taught the basics.
She also did some exploration on the net, practised and began to delight in executing mehndi which she did for friends and loved ones for Divali and Eid-ul-Fitr just before at some point charging for her get the job done for pocket income.
“Henna was just a medium to attract with – squeezing henna paste out of a tube – and of training course the human entire body is the canvas in this occasion. It was new to me so it was a challenge but I was fascinated by the styles, the application, and the way it fades. It teaches you non-attachment way too. Even when you like how it appears to be it does not keep there without end. It fades out about time.”
Her intention was to do it as a side organization to occupy her time when she waited for job interviews and simply call backs after graduating in 2009 from the College of the West Indies with her bachelor’s degree in sociology and a small in psychology.
She posted photographs of her get the job done on Facebook in which individuals shared her images and she began getting messages inquiring if she did dwelling calls. Viewing it as an prospect to broaden her business, she agreed and her grandfather took her to her appointments, accompanied by her mom.
“It begun to decide on up from there. And I feel I begun at a time when there wasn’t a total ton of henna artists around.”
She stated that most of her clients bought mehndi carried out for weddings and spiritual situations.
“In Hindu marriage ceremony tradition, mehndi is one of the 16 adornments of a bride, acknowledged as Solah Shringar. In Islam, females frequently dye their nails and adorn their palms and feet, and men dye their grey hairs with it, as recommended by the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).”
In Oct of that identical calendar year, she did her initially bride. Considering the fact that then, bridal perform has been her principal source of earnings. But some of her standard her customers also do mehndi as a sort of self-treatment and would get a design and style for Carnival, their birthdays, anniversaries, and other situations.
She explained she enjoys educating individuals about mehndi and viewing their response to the new details. She also likes supplying individuals the solution for an additional sort of entire body artwork other than tattooing – anything they can experiment with, improve styles and location it on different parts of their bodies.
“It’s not a spiritual issue until you place religious or symbolic styles on your overall body. And it is not anything only for the East Indian group. There is truly proof to counsel that the earliest use of henna was in Egypt, Africa. They employed it as medication to treat specified skin conditions, they utilized the bouquets as fragrance. That was the very first use of it till it achieved the Asian continent wherever they made use of the leaf as drugs as well as to dye the pores and skin, nails and animal conceal.”
Since the 2010s however, the mehndi marketplace has come to be concentrated “with the way the marriage sector has blown up.” So she had to make herself stand out as a result of her models and advertising and marketing.
She also laments the absence of excellent perform and quality henna on the sector. She reported some artists were unaware of the risks of instant staining chemical inks and gels that are marketed as henna.
“However, in 2016, I was introduced to other suppliers of the uncooked elements – substantial high quality henna powder and important oils – and before long commenced to mix my individual henna paste clean, and roll and fill m individual cones.
“I commenced to recognize and understand henna even much more, as a result of my growing functional know-how of mixing henna into a paste – the texture, the stains, what functions for me and what doesn’t, especially in a tropical local weather.”
She extra that in the commencing she did not have much facts about mehndi design and style so a great deal of her get the job done was influenced by mother nature, textiles, and architecture in Indian and Arabic design and style. Now, she does a great deal of non-traditional and fusion perform.
“Mehndi designs vary from region to region and, depending on the region, distinct elements represent various matters. Also, diverse ethnic groups from various sections of the planet have their unique styles. I love the obstacle of incorporating a number of of them in a piece.”
She also prefers connecting with her customers before operating on their bodies. She prefers to produce types with which means so she asks about the clients’ lives and combine components of their life into the style and design.
“I like to come to feel out the electrical power of my consumers. I like to fulfill them in advance of I reserve them so I know the sort of individual that I’m working with and they could get to know me and know the individual I am, so they could sense relaxed and have confidence in me to do certain things.
“The perform that I do, the artwork that I make, is not just for artwork sake, or just to appear superior. I want my operate to have intent, to be meaningful, to have a connection with the canvas, the human getting, that it’s staying accomplished on. A reflection of someone’s energy, coupled with my electricity. Much of my get the job done is encouraged by nature, spirituality, my travels and my relationship with the persons that I meet up with and who I work with.”
In addition to henna, she also delivers jagua – a citrus fruit that produces a blue-black stain that could seem like a tattoo – and once in a while, “white henna” which is a overall body paint or adhesive with pigment. The pigment stays on top of the skin as a substitute of staining it and only lasts about a day.
“It’s been difficult, it is been a lot of operate, it is been a large amount of ups and downs, not a whole lot of guidance from the individuals I required it from, but I am a incredibly identified human being, specially when a person tells me I cannot do anything. I imagine if some thing is meant for you, it’s meant for you. If you really like a little something, operate for it.”
Workshops with United kingdom organization
Above the several years Karim has hosted quite a few workshops, and has been highlighted in different exhibitions and publications.
In 2016, she hosted workshops with Henna Visa, now Henna Ink’d, in the United kingdom. In 2020 she did some local mehndi workshops, and was part of Henna Artists of the Earth Unite, a workshop on Instagram that aided persons cope with the pandemic by understanding how to do mehndi.
In February 2021, she was invited by Neeta Sharma of Mehndi Designer to instruct at a workshop at the once-a-year Spring Fling Henna Convention in Oakland, California, which was digital this calendar year. She also collaborated with Khadija Dawn Carryl of Henna Sooq to build a sequence of small movie tutorials for her internet site in April 2021.
Her get the job done has been showcased at exhibitions at the Divali Nagar site, the Central Financial institution Museum, the Nationwide Museum of TT, and most recently the Rotunda Gallery.
She is also an beginner photographer and a freelance graphic designer, and is intrigued in mother nature and wildlife conservation.