Cultural Appropriation?

A few months ago I began to take a great interest in the beauty of henna body art. I’m reading a lot in an effort to learn about its origins and the many varied traditions associated with its use. I’ve learned how to mix and apply henna paste and completely enjoy the process and interaction with people that occurs during these times.

But the idea that I may be contributing to the appropriation and commodification of henna traditions troubles me. I am not a member of any of the cultures that traditionally use henna. I do consider applying henna as an artistic expression that facilitates open andIMAG1537 friendly communication, sharing and connection between people and I see this as positive. My interest in applying henna is out of admiration and high regard for its beauty and long history associated with such positive things in life as celebration, good luck, happiness and good health. Nonetheless, I wonder where those belonging to cultures with henna traditions drawn the line. A bit of digging  into this issue has certainly shown there are some strong opinions on both sides of the matter. What are your thoughts?

All Tangled Up

This evening I discovered how to get my two teenage sons to sit with me for over an hour and draw. The trick? Well, recently I discovered the fun of “Zentangle” inspired doodling and thought they might like it too. I had hoped they’d enjoy it but definitely hadn’t expected their level of interest and patience.

After a quick introduction we jumped in. It was a real treat to sit together and create. Not surprisingly, their personalities shine through clearly in the mini pieces of art they produced as I’m sure mine does too (though far less apparent to me).IMAG1506IMAG1505

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I have to admit that this wonderful occurrence did come through some negotiation. The boys agreed to try the doodling if I would agree to watch an episode of one of their favorite TV shows. They assure me I will love it if I just give it a chance.

We’ll see about that but it seems a small thing to do for more creative time with my boys.