Henna: The Unknown History

Durham 150 Grantee

“HENNA: THE UNKNOWN HISTORY,” is AN INTERACTIVE EXHIBIT/LECTURE DEMONSTRATING THE indigenous ROOTS (spanning across Africa, Asia, to america) as well as modern application OF HENNA.

An Interactive Exhibit

Happy Birthday Durham!! And it comes as no surprise that we along with Durham 150 are celebrating with henna! Henna: The Unknown History is an interactive exhibit. This exhibit is a photography series capturing Durham residents enjoying henna. In Durham, henna has become a festival staple and a cultural icon used to celebrate weddings, birthdays, etc. About our city henna can be found in nail salons, hair salons, & tattoo parlors. The fact that henna thrives in our city conveys the global village of Durham as well as Durhams commitment to social justice. Henna artist Shemora Sheikh will conduct a lecture on the roots and little known facts of Henna. There will be DIY Henna Stations. Henna is an herbal temporary tattoo used for dying hair, eyebrows, as well as body art.


Henna comes from a desert plant (lawsonia inermis), which is used to create temporary body tattoos. HENNA BODY ART HAS BEEN KEPT IN the SHADOWS AS AN ART FORM BECAUSE IT IS REGARDED AS A STREET ART TRADITIONALLY PERFORMED BY IMPOVERISHED WOMEN from developing countries. However, Henna definitely has a glamorous side seeing as it was once only worn by royalty.

Also, The world of henna, especially when it comes to indigenous cultures, is covert due to its involvement of women, sensuality, and sacredness this event will shed a Light on these clandestine moments of henna culture. henna is a messenger between lovers, a bond between friends, and a blessing upon a mother. Henna forces one to be patient and careful with oneself while waiting for the paste to dry and trying to move without ruining one’s design. In the end, the paste crumbles off, revealing a stain that lasts for weeks. Henna tells a story of who you are and where you have been. It definitely tells a story about Durham.

Despite henna’s humble roots, henna culture is alive & thriving among Durhamites– whether it be at a festival or baby shower! This comes as no surprise with Durham’s diverse demographics & hip culture! The POWER POINT History lecture will take place against the backdrop of a henna exhibit. The canvases will be gallery wrapped prints of photographed scenes of Durham people decorated with henna body art in traditional settings (weddings, naming ceremonies) in Durham. We will also offer henna decorating as well as have a DIY Henna station. Attendees will have an opportunity to be decorated with henna, mix henna, create a henna cone, and or apply it to a canvas.


Jul 19 2019


4:00 pm - 8:00 pm


GMMC Digital/GPazz Live
112 Hunt St, Durham, NC 27701


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