Soraya Shahidy rigorously lays a stencil on Nargis Merzayi’s arm earlier than inking the most recent tattoo in her salon in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul.
A traditional routine in studios around the globe, Shahidy’s paintings within the conservative nation breaks a tattoo taboo: she believes she is the primary feminine tattoo artist in a rustic the place some spiritual students say tattoos are forbidden underneath Islam.
“I may have carried out this career overseas however I wished to do it in Afghanistan as a result of there are not any feminine tattoo artists within the nation,” she informed Reuters. “I consider it’s not solely males who can apply tattoos. Ladies can do it too.”
Shahidy, 27, who skilled in Turkey and Iran, insists her paintings is reliable in Islam.
“Some mullahs say tattoos are forbidden, however there are different mullahs who say the alternative,” she mentioned, including that Kabul is seeing a small however rising demand from younger individuals for tattoos.
“Most purchasers need tattoos on their wrists, arms, neck and legs… Women are extra focused on delicate tattoo designs reminiscent of flowers, butterflies and dragonflies, or the names of individuals they love. However some boys select designs which are extravagant to me.”
One consumer, she mentioned, wished a tattoo of a tombstone inscribed “volunteer of demise”.
Shahidy’s present consumer, Merzayi, was lengthy focused on getting a tattoo and at last determined to go forward with a design on the within of her forearm.
“My tattoo is in Hindi handwriting and it means braveness,” she mentioned.
Shahidy expressed confidence the nation has modified dramatically for the reason that hardline Islamists had been ousted in 2001.
“We’re not the individuals who can simply lose the achievements now we have gained over the current years,” she mentioned.