Singaporean bridal henna artist Alisa Parveen

The mehndi or “henna” party is one of the most important functions for a bride in the lead up to her wedding day. But until only very recently, finding an artist in Australia was a challenge. I caught up with one young and immensely talented artist by the name of Alisa Parveen, who gave me an insight into her amazing work as well as share some common myths and misconceptions about henna.

Alisa has been trading at markets and festivals in and around Melbourne, Sydney and Singapore for a few years now and her unique talents are becoming increasingly popular amongst brides to be as well.

With over 13 years of henna art experience behind her; Alisa has made a name for herself. She’s launched a book titled, The Henna Narrative, appeared at henna conferences and events across Australia and is a regular face at the Queen Victoria Night Market events.

A native to Singapore, she started applying henna at the mere age of 9 in her mother’s henna studio. She would watch the women working in the studio and picked up the inspiration to try her hand at the delicate art of applying henna. In between attending school and studying, Alisa continued her passion for henna art by participating in events, festivals and facilitating bridal appointments.

Alisa’s designs are unique, and look highly professional. She can differentiate between Indian, Arabic, Indo-Arabic, Moroccan and Western henna patterns. She loves to challenge her creativity and is always experimenting with new, innovative designs as seen regularly on her inspiring Instagram page.

‘The Henna Narrative’ was Alisa’s first publication and she’s still abuzz with the success of the book launch that was held in Little India, Singapore.

“I finished my first book before moving to Sydney for studies. However, there was never a right moment to launch. I was travelling back and forth from Sydney to Singapore and it would never be for long periods of time. I desperately wanted to showcase it in my home country and preferably during a special festival. So, I sought approval and support from the National Heritage Board of Singapore (NHB) and finally the ball got rolling. Within 1 month, I completed the book featuring new designs, sent it to the printers and launched it during the South Indian festival of Pongal.”

The response from the book launch was beyond Alisa’s expectations and she was elated that she managed to sell numerous copies of it.

In addition to the book launch, Alisa collaborated with the Little India Shopkeeper & Heritage Association (LISHA) to organise Singapore’s first official henna competition. It was an opportunity for the local henna artists of Singapore to showcase their work and expand their portfolio. This was the first of its kind and given the chance someday, she mentioned that she’d love to take part in it herself.