Tattoo Blog

Art that adorns the flesh…

Henna? Montreal Says Hell No!

August 4th, 2010 by

As I’ve already mentioned and shown many times before on the Tattoo Blog, resistance to tattooing and tattoos in general continues despite the current popularity of the art form.  So what, right?  We’ve all come to expect the discrimination, the stereotypes, the all around small-mindedness that comes along with so many people’s wacky disapproval of tattoos.  As much as all that stuff irks us at some point, we move past it precisely because we understand that the tattoos we have are for ourselves and no one else and that their permanence on our bodies will be the only consolation we require.

But what about art forms that aren’t permanent on the flesh but still display a beauty similar to that of tattoos?  What happens when an art form like henna is being singled out as undesirable for no other apparent reason than the fact that it’s a skin art form – a distant cousin to the dreaded permanent tattoo?

Well, if you think that’s something totally ridiculous that doesn’t or won’t happen, then I’ve got to tell you that you’re totally wrong.  In Montreal, Quebec, Canada, the word on the street is that henna is not welcome in the city’s Old Montreal district.  Why?  Apparently henna tattoo doesn’t correspond to any sort of tradition in Quebec.

‘”This kind of activity doesn’t have a place in Old Montreal,” Michel Demers, head of the cultural division and public libraries for the Ville Marie borough, said yesterday.

Henna tattooing “is not an activity that corresponds to a tradition here in Quebec,” Demers said.’

Hmmm…seems a little odd that after ten years of permitting henna artists to have a spot in Old Montreal, the art form is suddenly no longer considered acceptable.  What’s even more surprising about this is that it’s occurring in Montreal – a city which is generally known for its respect and love of art and diversity.  Perhaps there is a better reason to ban henna from the area than what they are telling us, but if there is, I can’t think of it.  I understand the concern over black henna, a form of henna that can and has caused physical damage to people in the past.  But no, this isn’t about black henna and I have to say, although I’m not particularly interested in the art form itself, I’m more than a little disappointed that others in Old Montreal won’t have the opportunity to make up their own minds regarding it.

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