Bil Yad

Series #001 / Dr. Azra

  • WordsRuth O'Malley
  • StylistMashael Alsaie
  • VideographerAqib Anwar

It fascinates me she said, the power, the strength we all have within us that we need to explore. Dr. Azra, a Dubai based chiropractor and designer explains her fascination with the powers of the human body, so complex that scientists till today keep trying to comprehend it entirely while learning more but never everything.

“It’s amazing what your hands can learn”, she explains. “Of course there are other senses involved but the hands, they remember, they can feel pain, heat, inflammation. It just reflects on God’s creation and the perfection of what he created”. The healing powers of the hand is what inspired her even as a chiropractor.

At the age of 8 Dr. Azra started designing jewellery and selling it out of her house and then her fascination with what the hands can create never stopped. An artist can do beautiful things with their hands she said, while looking at the henna on her hand at the very moment. She explained how her love for expressing her art through henna developed when she did an Emarati henna design for a friend on Eid. The photographs of the hands came so beautiful that she could not help but do it again, slowly drawing inspiration from nature and travelling.

Her designs were soon appreciated by people on social media and she gained recognition for her aesthetic. “Instagram as a community loves art, something different, something attractive & new” she exclaims! so when she started posting her work solely with passion, without looking for money or fame it was just appreciated by people. Also handcrafting bespoke bags for herself at the age of 15 drew her friends attention, which has over time turned into her own design label, “Azra”.

“We can all help people if we really want to”, she goes on to say, “because the hand is magical and the way its synchronised with the body is beautiful. Our strengths and possibilities are limitless” she says. Her love for designing started back when she was in student council in Australia where she started designing clothes and loved to see people actually wear it giving her the confidence to design which today she uses to teach other people in need.

Dr. Azra conducts various workshops, the latest being with Elderly Emarati artisans who have been weaving and earning a living through hand work for over 30 years. With the support of the Khalifa fund, this initiative showcased Dr. Azra’s skills of modern practices on working with leather that they are not exposed to. Her face lights up even while talking about it; people are amazing in our community she says, “there is a lot of love and support”.

When asked about what inspires her, she says almost instantly, “everything”, there is beauty to be found in everything, “Nature is so powerful and we can all learn so much from it, whether I go far and travel for it or be near to home, it doesn’t matter it’s just so inspiring.”

She goes on about her trials and errors with her new fascination of the ancient practice of henna, turning it to her own take of using the hands as her canvas. “When I did one of my first henna designs I thought it would be horrible but at the end it was so beautiful, you just realise that you got to explore and have fun with it”.


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