By Hameed Farzad and Sayed Hassib
KABUL (Reuters) – Soraya Shahidy fastidiously lays a stencil on Nargis Merzayi’s arm earlier than inking the newest tattoo in her salon in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul.
A standard 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 non secular students say tattoos are forbidden below Islam.
“I might have carried out this career overseas however I needed to do it in Afghanistan as a result of there are not any feminine tattoo artists within the nation,” she advised Reuters. “I consider it isn’t solely males who can apply tattoos. Ladies can do it too.”
Shahidy, 27, who skilled in Turkey and Iran, insists her paintings is reputable in Islam.
“Some mullahs say tattoos are forbidden, however there are different mullahs who say the other,” she mentioned, including that Kabul is seeing a small however rising demand from younger folks for tattoos.
“Most purchasers need tattoos on their wrists, arms, neck and legs… Ladies are extra serious about delicate tattoo designs comparable to flowers, butterflies and dragonflies, or the names of individuals they love. However some boys select designs which might be extravagant to me.”
One consumer, she mentioned, needed a tattoo of a tombstone inscribed “volunteer of dying”.
Shahidy’s present consumer, Merzayi, was lengthy serious about getting a tattoo and eventually 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.
Like many within the nation, Shahidy thinks about the opportunity of a return to energy by the Taliban, who’re in peace talks with the Afghan authorities to finish twenty years of conflict. However she expressed confidence the nation has modified dramatically for the reason that hardline Islamists have been ousted in 2001.
“We’re not the individuals who can simply lose the achievements we now have gained over the current years,” she mentioned.
(Reporting by Hameed Farzad and Sayed Hassib; Writing by Charlotte Greenfield; Enhancing by William Mallard)
Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.