Soraya Shahidy rigorously 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 all over the world, 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 beneath Islam.
“I may 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 informed Reuters. “I imagine it isn’t solely males who can apply tattoos. Girls can do it too.”
Shahidy, 27, who skilled in Turkey and Iran, insists her paintings is legit in Islam.
“Some mullahs say tattoos are forbidden, however there are different mullahs who say the other,” she stated, 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 serious about delicate tattoo designs resembling 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 stated, needed a tattoo of a tombstone inscribed “volunteer of demise”.
Shahidy’s present consumer, Merzayi, was lengthy serious about 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 stated.
Like many within the nation, Shahidy thinks about the potential for a return to energy by the Taliban, who’re in peace talks with the Afghan authorities to finish 20 years of battle. However she expressed confidence the nation has modified dramatically for the reason that hardline Islamists had been ousted in 2001.
“We aren’t the individuals who can simply lose the achievements we now have gained over the latest years,” she stated.