Call for Art: If Henna Could Speak

Call for Art: If Henna Could Speak

Call for Art: If Henna Could Speak - image of henna tattoo on person's back

Exhibit your work at Toynbee Hall on 3 Dec 2022 by submitting your visual artwork. Work must respond to themes of henna, natural dyes and cultural design. You must identify as a person of the global majority* to apply.

*Global Majority is a collective term that refers to people who are Black, Asian, Brown, Afro-Carribean, dual-heritage, indigenous to the global south, and or have been racialised as ‘ethnic minorities’.

Deadline: Monday 14th November

All ages and levels welcome.

If you require a different format or for more information, please email or call Tasnim at 07942476053.

Submission Guidelines

About the event

If Henna Could Speak is a 1-day event taking place at the Toynbee Hall for our local communities in East London. This event looks at henna or mehndi design as a serious art form and an ancient ritualistic practice which is practiced in many non-Western parts of the worlds. The event will invite people to make their own henna, learn where the plant is cultivated, trace the many origins of henna design and applications, and recognise henna as a natural dye used for more than dying hair and skin.

Themes of Henna, Natural Dyes and Cultural Design

We welcome submissions on the themes of henna which can be interpreted classically with photos of your henna design that you’ve done for celebratory events on your skin, or more atypically, for example, you may want to apply henna with a paintbrush on fabric. You could photograph the process of dying your hair with henna as a monthly ritual or you may want to focus on the henna plant itself.

The theme of natural dyes can be interpreted outside of the henna context and similarly cultural design can be patterns, symbols, and techniques in all areas of life including art, beauty, food, textiles, architecture, birth, marriage, death and so on.


You may submit multiple pieces of work, maximum 5. You will hear back if your submission/s have been successful by 18th November along with details on how to submit your work physically.

For more information or support with your submission please email Tasnim or call on 07942476053.

Online Info Session

We are also hosting a drop-in information session on 3rd November, 7-8PM on Zoom for anyone with any questions about the submission process.

Details below:

Meeting ID: 774 4030 5414                                 

Passcode: Henna123


We welcome all forms so long we can exhibit them with little installation cost involved! Film can be presented on screens. Photography, paintings, textiles, mixed media are all welcome.


1-day show at Toynbee Hall on the 3rd December 2022, 11AM-5PM. We are also able to offer a longer term digital outdoor projection and 1 month physical display on the first floor corridor of Toynbee Hall.

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