A designer defines her work with her acceptance and not of others
When you know of your potential and have a strong drive to make things happen, there is no reason not to pursue your dreams and make an impact with what you love doing. Of course you may face criticism along the way, but that just makes the will power even stronger...at least that is the case with well-known entrepreneur and chiropractor Azra Khamissa, who has stumbled upon a new kind of love- henna designing.
Azra who also happens to be a handbag designer based in Dubai, has reached quite a strong fan-following as she reinvents henna, redefining the traditional art form to contemporary tunes of the modern world. Speaking to Weekender, she said: “I have always been in the creative field. I started as a makeup artist whilst at school then began designing clothes for the university whilst studying chiropractic and eventually I started designing handbags after I graduated. Henna design followed, just less than 2 years ago.”
Being a complete contrast to what you would expect of traditional Middle-Eastern designs, Azra is unapologetic about her work as she takes a different road than to the familiar pathway of curlicues, spirals, flowers, and the brown-red colour. Read on to know how she represents her unique style:
W. What was your inspiration behind your contemporary work?
Azra: I love traditional henna designs and started playing around with designs from all around the region. I also love minimal contemporary design and the only designs that align with this are the traditional ones, they are a base for most of my work.
W. How did you come into the art of creating contemporary henna?
Azra: The love for it started with a photo shoot with my handbags ( Instagram @azradubai ) that I did two years ago in the desert. I had traditional henna on my hands and we shot them with camels and bags just by chance at the end of the shoot. The photos came out stunning. I began playing around more with henna designs just after that.
W. What is the vision behind your artistic designs ?
Azra: The traditional Indian designs with the swirls and flowers are beautiful but not my style at all. So I began creating styles that I loved, more in tune with my aesthetic, purely for the love of it and out of curiosity. Girls that have never done henna before, and some that even hated henna are now experimenting more with the art which is beautiful and something that I hope continues.
W. How has the response been so far?
Azra: The response has been overwhelming but amazing at the same time. My designs have been reposted by our Minister of Culture, the previous Editor of Vogue Arabia and featured in top magazines in the region. I couldn’t be more grateful.
W. How do you handle criticism though and what’s the worst kind that you have received till date?
Azra: My grandmother (and other grandmothers) don’t really like the designs; they think it’s too simple. Obviously with them I take it quiet lightly and laugh it off. Online, every now and then someone will comment with a vomit emoji, that doesn’t bother me either. In the end its art, and everyone is entitled to their own opinion.
W. How important do you think it is to for a person to discover and unleash their creativity?
Azra: Everyone expresses their feelings and creativity differently, I think it’s something that happens naturally. Support from friends and the community can help it grow into something bigger if that’s what you want, which also pushes you to discover and explore different sides of your creativity.