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The Art of Mehndi Body Painting

Kendra Hunsaker and Joseph Blanchard

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Do you remember the first time you got a Mehndi tattoo? Perhaps it was at the state fair? Or maybe you were one of the many people who attended Mehndi Madness on February 10th. The day started with a short presentation on what Mehndi is, for those of you who don’t know, mehndi, also known as henna, is a paste made from the powdered leaves of a tropical shrub, used as a dye to color hair and or to decorate the body. Although many people think that it’s sacred, henna is mostly for fun and style. “Henna is a folk art.” Traditionally, henna was and is used to celebrate things, such as weddings and births.

Artists, Illyana Lund and Kristen Mccurdy, focussed a lot on the dangers of black henna. Black henna contains high amounts of a chemical called paraphenylenediamine (PPD) which can also be found in permanent hair dyes. Mccurdy “doesn’t think people are informed enough about the dangers of black henna” and urges everyone to do research on black henna as well as regular henna.

After the presentation, the kids all lined up patiently waiting to get their henna tattoo. Some people came with ideas of what they wanted and some told the artists what they were thinking and without fail, they did it. There were many designs, such as a hawk, flowers, dragon’s, cats, dogs, and many more. Lund and Mccurdy come up with their designs based off of what the person wants, for example, one of the kids who participated in the event asked for “a sleepy kitty” and Lund was able to come up with a cute design that fit exactly what he wanted. Mehndi Madness was a great experience, everyone that came in left with a beautiful and unique tattoo. The artists encourage everyone to do research on henna and experience the beauty of it. Lund expresses that “if you have enough interest and you keep practicing, that’s all it takes” to be a part of the henna community.

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The Art of Mehndi Body Painting