One of the largest sports apparel manufacturers in the world, Adidas recently collaborated with Dubai-based Muslim artist Azra Khamissa to produce three sneakers with unique designs using Henna. The collaborations also included local creatives Latifa Saeed, Christopher Joshua Benton, and Hessa.
When announcing the project on her Instagram account, @dr.azra, Khamissa said that using Henna on the skin was amusing and quite challenging for her. She tells her followers they can find sneakers with her henna designs at the new Adidas Originals store in the Dubai Mall.
From the photo she uploaded to Instagram, it can be seen that the three designs of sneakers which are the result of Khamissa’s work, feature striking henna designs with Henna’s distinctive color of brownish yellow that stands out on top of all-white sneakers. In addition, the first high-top shoe features a detailed striped design, the second with zig-zags, and the third features a full wavy pattern.
This collaboration marks a significant step in the career of a regional artist who is also a chiropractor, hence the moniker dr.Azra. Azra Khamissa, a 30-year-old Canadian-South African chiropractor-cum-designer has recently become widely known for leading a new creative wave that introduces the ancient art of Henna into a more modern direction.
Using her hands as a canvas for her work, Khamissa often shares stunning and attractive contemporary henna designs to her 153,000 followers on Instagram. Azra Khamissa has taken an essential step in promoting modern-style Henna for everyday use to a broader audience than traditional patterns.
For more than 5,000 years, the use of Henna has been widespread in mainland North Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. Henna is usually applied and beautifies the hands and feet in the form of a paste made from the henna plant. Traditional henna designs incorporate curlicues and floral arrangements that symbolize strength and beauty.
However, Khamissa is more interested in introducing a minimalist Bedouin design such as a simple circle that she draws on her hand, an eclipsed moon on her forearm, a snake wriggling between fingers, and tendons, to the design of checked squares and frangipani without petals.