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Posted by Catherine Cartwright Jones on July 8, 2002 at 22:29:48:

In reply to: Are you an artist...? OR just someone who does henna... my history on this.LONG posted by Veronica on July 6, 2002 at 18:47:22:

The English language, and the social mindset about artists and
craftsmen, in western society doesn't translate well with
fundamentally non-western henna. As I view henna's history and
traditions, it was rarely, if ever, really an art, as it did not
approach the idealistic, expressive, trancendental, and universalizing
character of what might be termed art. Henna historically settles in
between household magic, chicken soup, a rabbits food good luck charm,
and embroidery. Nice, potentially very well done and even elegantly
elaborate, but NOT ART. I certainly don't consider my henna to be
art, though I do try for a high level of craftsmanship, and sometimes
trancendence, expressiveness, and such.

Henna could potentially be art, though. I'd like to see people try.
Now that there is the potential of recording henna through
photography, I think there's a chance. Ephemera are tough to
categorize as art, as you can't evaluate them through time. One of the
ways of determing if a work is "art" is whether or not it's values
hold up past the moment it's created into decades or centuries after.

Standing in a museum, recently, I did stop and wonder what Van Gogh,
Munch, Reubens, and others would have done with a cone of henna. Lord
knows they could do more than that row of PPD-slingers with crap flash
taped to the bricks on Cornmarket.


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