Golboo Amani

221A, 7pm, 2011

In Iranian culture the use of henna has been documented as far back as the Ghaznavid Empire, which existed from 975 to 1187. Henna is generally applied to the skin in intricate patterns that reference not only the artists own style but also the regional and cultural heritage, personal taste and class, of the person wearing the stain. It is said the more intricate and darker the stain the more wealth and privilege is implied. It is very difficult for one to henna ones self, the stain is generally applied to the body by another person. Often applied in harams or women?s hamams(baths), henna on the body is predominantly a feminine practice of beautifying or making the skin visually and sexually appealing. Many Persian poets and painters have admire the beauty of hennaed hands and. Henna traditionally is meant for younger women with the exception of young babies and sometimes highly valued horses and dogs and very rarely men. Hanna not only has medicinal purposes as a pain killer, anti-inflammatory and natural sunscreen but also acted as a way to ward off the evil eye when painted on before being betrothed, births and even used as part of preparatory ceremonies for war and rebellion. Historically European travelers expressed their distain for the practice describing the stained hands and feet as looking dirty or stained with filth, causing the art form to fall from trend.

My performance will include the preparation of the henna paste and the application of it to my body. The green mud will cover all the areas of my body that I can reach. It will stain my skin. I will then wash the mud off and reapply the mud for a darker stain.


Golboo Amani, a graduate of ECUAD, is an interdisciplinary artist working with photography, installation, and performance. With a focus on process and research, Golboo’s practice fits within the discourse of knowledge production and distribution to highlight ways in which language and gestures become dominant tools of informing and imagining the world.