Meet Afghanistan Tattoo Artist Who Is Breaking Stereotypes

This wonderful news comes to us from Afghanistan.

This story revolves around a tattoo artist, Soraya Shahidy, 27, who trained in Turkey and Iran and insist on her artwork be legitimated in Islam. She lays a stencil carefully before inking the latest tattoo in her salon situated in Kabul, capital of Afghanistan, on the arm of Nargis Merzayi. In this country, some religious scholars say that tattoos are forbidden under Islam. A tattoo salon is a normal place all over the world but, in a conservative country like Kabul, this salon is a challenge for Shahidy as she believes that she is the first female tattoo artist in this country.

She said, “I could have performed this profession abroad but I wanted to do it in Afghanistan because there are no female tattoo artists in the country. I believe it’s not only men who can apply tattoos. Women can do it too.” She further added, “Some mullahs say tattoos are forbidden, but there are other mullahs who say the opposite.” She also said that Kabul is seeing a small but growing demand from young people for tattoos.

Shahidy said, “Most clients want tattoos on their wrists, arms, neck, and legs…Girls are more interested in delicate tattoo designs like flowers, butterflies and dragonflies, or the names of people they love. But some boys choose designs that are extravagant to me.” She also said that a client wanted a tattoo of a tombstone with ‘volunteer of death’ inscribed on it.

Merzayi, the current client of Shahidy was interested in getting a tattoo for a long time and so, she finally decided to go with a design on the inside of her forearm. She said, “My tattoo is in Hindi handwriting and it means courage.”

Shahidy has a positive attitude towards the return of power by the Taliban, who are in peace talks with the Afghan government to end two decades of war. After the hardline Islamists were ousted in 2001, Kabul saw a great change in the thinking of the people. She said, “We are not the people who can easily lose the achievements we have gained over the recent years.”

This step by Shahidy brought great courage in the hearts of the women of Afghanistan and changed the mindset of people who believed that tattoos are not for girls. Shahidy must be appreciated for her good action and we hope to see her continue with the initiative.

Image Source: Hindustan Times

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