Amanda Joy Gilbert believes in the power of art therapy.
That conviction comes from her own experience. Amanda discovered henna art at a dark time in her own life. In 2010, as she assisted in the resettling of refugees in Grand Rapids, she observed from close range the power of henna in women who struggle with all manner of fears.
She beheld the smiles, the light in the eyes, the healing laughter as displaced women shared the beautiful patterns and shapes that adorned their skin.
An Ancient Art Form
It prompted her research. She learned that henna is a 5,000-year-old art form that appeared in the Arab world, India, Egypt, China and other cultures from ancient times. The lawsonia plant, or henna, yields an oil that becomes a dark colored dye. On human skin, it creates a temporary marking, and when applied with the skill of the henna artist creates intricate, delicate patterns and shapes.
In many cultures, a bride and her attendants will emerge for the ceremony in traditional dress: hands, arms and feet aglow with elaborate detail. Sometimes glitter and gilding and fine-line patterns enhance the art, adding beauty and wonder to the celebration.
But for Amanda, henna art brings healing.
In 2015, she volunteered to work with an organization called Beautiful You, a salon that offers free services for cancer patients. If treatments mean the loss of hair, the scalp becomes a canvas.
The Blessing of Henna
As Amanda creates the art, she offers a verbal blessing to patients who face frightening uncertainties. She reminds them of the power of love and beauty to overcome fear. As she works, she directs them to their outer beauty and the miracle of their body. She connects them to their inner strength and challenges them to embrace the joy of this moment as the art reveals itself - and to carry that joy with them throughout each day.
Amanda says, “My mission is to bring happiness and healing through the art of henna. Just last year, she founded her own non-profit: Henna Crowns of Courage.
It has become her life’s work.
Here’s how she describes it on her site - We empower women to choose love over fear during a time that impacts them on a physical, emotional, mental and psychological level. Helping them to feel beautiful in bald, knowing it is only temporary and helping them find the strength and confidence within themselves.
Just recently, Amanda and Angela met and shared their stories. They talked about the healing power of art. It was an immediate bond.
Amanda Joy - Personal Appearance
Amanda has agreed to join us for our Art of Freedom event on November 9. She will perform her work as we witness –
Love that conquers fear.
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Amanda Joy Gilbert – Henna Art
Art of Freedom Show
November 9, 2019
Amanda's Official Site: https://www.hennacrownsofcourage.org/