Interviews

A Song of Art in Ink

Aama for Maldeeb -- Photo/Hussain Saeed
Aama for Maldeeb -- Photo/Hussain Saeed

Art and creativity; it is ever so present around us. Whether it’s the uncompromising waves or the bird songs in the morning, one can find art anywhere. Just like that, creativity discerns no bounds; infinite trains of thoughts which are meant to be anything but restricted – and nature, the fueling source of it all. The human mind can create wonders when inspired, much like the works of Aama Hameed – one of the premier henna artists in the Maldives.

Her interest in henna tattoos has today nurtured her into a distinguished henna artist. She recalls her first professional service as the time when Anantara reached out to her, requesting for one henna tattoo, shortly after which her page “Nature’s Ink” came into existence. Aama said that henna being a natural source of ink, was the true inspiration behind the name – and Mandala’s happen to be her thing, which once again take us back to nature; as they are patterns that represents the cosmos metaphysically or symbolically.

As Aamaa explained, the mini tattoos she does could take a few minutes to wrap-up; usually about ten to fifteen minutes tops. But for the ones that include intricate designs, it could even take more than seven hours. Sitting in the same spot, working on a particular design is not an easy task. But Aamaa pulls it off effortlessly since she unquestionably loves what she does.

“When I start drawing I don’t really have a specific idea for the design. Most of the time I just go with the flow, and it comes as I keep drawing. Sometimes clients would show me photos of tattoos and request for me to do one. But henna isn’t like that, it’s not as thin as a tattoo needle. But still some would insist, and when I do some people would not be satisfied – because it wasn’t the way they intended. So I usually tell them that it’s not like a real tattoo and that it would be different when done with henna”

Henna artistry being such an alien idea to the Maldivian society, a future for it seemed implausible in the beginning. In Aamaa’s words, she and a friend of hers were the only ones who used to do this in the beginning as far as she could recall. But now, the number of people who practice henna art have gradually increased – though countable with ones fingers. .

“I feel like we have to do something. Like, host an event and raise awareness about this. I think hosting art festivals and participating in such things how we could grow this into an industry”

Though the best of henna is unavailable in the Maldives, Aamaa is truly committed to give her clients the best. And for that, she brings in henna from India regularly – and the two types she uses are entirely safe and provide marvelous results.

“I use two types of henna. Black henna and red henna. Black is more like a gel, it’s not like real henna. But it’s safe, none of my clients have had an allergic reaction to date. Red henna is the natural paste – and the color will soak in within 24 hours – from an orange-ish red initially”

To those who try henna artistry at home, Aamaa says you should always practice more and more to improve what you do. And for those who would really like to do it and are interested in henna artistry, she advices to “just do it”.

With Aama’s flair of henna artistry being so rare in the Maldives, she wishes all henna artists to work together with nothing but love – and “conduct special promotions” and such on. She hopes it turns into a fully fletched industry – and aspires to even teach interested people, in association with other Henna artists. She also thanked her family – especially her father and mother for the incredible support they have shown for her work. Additionally she thanked; Asnan, Faina, Naai, Yaami, Eetha, Bebbe, Thihthi, Dhonbe, Thuhthu, Nazza, Shau, Munfi, Shamil and Aako for fheir love and support too along with Neenthi for her henna supply! We at Maldeeb hope her wishes of a closely knitted henna community becomes a reality in the near future.

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