Photo Exhibition: Finding Joy through Henna

A post by Peter Jordens.

The “Find Joy through Henna” photo exhibition recently took place at Atelier Nigrita in Curaçao. On the occasion of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and to help break the taboo surrounding breast cancer, the Curaçaoan henna tattoo artist Nicolle Lourens used the art of henna tattoos to adorn the upper bodies of nine women who are breast cancer survivors. The volunteering women also received group coaching and a yoga session. Subsequently Lourens styled them for their professional photographs, taken by Steve Bakhuis.

Lourens says that the entire process, from henna adornment to coaching, yoga, styling and photography, was a healing, joyful and beautiful experience for the women. It enabled them to “regain a part of their body considered unwell or damaged. Something we do not want to look at becomes beautiful.” According to Lourens, “the photo exhibition is about courage, self-love, hope, self-acceptance, beauty and joy.” (Antilliaans Dagblad)

Lourens explains that some of the women initially “were not candid about their illness, but the henna tattoos motivated them to talk about it and to accept their ‘changed’ body.” “Femininity is not determined by whether you have breasts or not,” says Lourens. “I admire uniqueness. Each woman, each body has a unique story. I see nine goddesses who show who they are without shame. Femininity is an attitude, a force.” (Amigoe)

The “Find Joy through Henna” photo exhibition will be open again at Atelier Nigrita (Bargestraat 28, Scharloo) on October 29-31, 2020, and will then move to the Curaçao Medical Center in Otrobanda.

Sources: Henna-tatoeage voor vrouwen met borstkanker, Antilliaans Dagblad, October 16, 2020 (hardcopy edition); Hennatatoeages om in het reine te komen met je lichaam, Amigoe, October 17, 2020, p. 5 (hardcopy edition), and (October 14-16, 26, 2020). Citations have by translated from Dutch by Peter Jordens.

The above picture shows Nicolle Lourens and some of the photographs. The picture is sourced from (October 24, 2020), where one can find more pictures and a short video of the photo exhibition and opening reception.

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