emirati incensemaking workshop a hit in the capital
Last Updated : GMT 05:21:58
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Last Updated : GMT 05:21:58
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Emirati incense-making workshop a hit in the capital

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Arab Today, arab today Emirati incense-making workshop a hit in the capital

Mona showing one of the ingredients she uses in making incense.
Abu Dhabi - Arab today

When Mona Bassam Haddad, an Abu Dhabi student, discovered that she had a special talent for making Emirati incense, she had no idea that one day she would be standing in front of an overbooked workshop at one of the capital’s trendiest cultural spaces, teaching residents about her craft.

The 23-year-old art student held the interactive workshop on Wednesday evening at Warehouse421 as part of a cultural programme series, Wednesdays at the Warehouse. She said she wanted to participate in conducting the workshop in an effort to raise awareness about traditional homemade incense such as bakhoor, scented oud, sachets and perfumes.

“Homemade perfumes have been such a huge part of Emirati and Khaleej (Gulf) women’s lifestyle. I really hope more people could know about our traditions.”

Although Haddad is an expert in her craft and can even identify whether a particular ingredient is pure or not by simply smelling it, she admits that like most people her age, she was not too familiar with the tradition until she was 17-years-old and stumbled upon the practice by accident.

Her passion for making these homemade Emirati products began accidentally when she was preparing to enter a young entrepreneurship exhibition in Dubai with her own brand of accessories, imported from abroad however, and things started to go wrong

There was no sign of my accessories’ shipment, so I started to really panic and went to my mum for help.”

Haddad’s mother helped her daughter come up with an alternative merchandise for the exhibition, homemade bakhoors, a popular burning incense among Arabs. “She taught me the basics and then I researched it more on the internet.”

Haddad got to work and created her own bakhoor scents and presented them at the exhibition. They were an instant hit.

“I sold all my bakhoors at the exhibition, I couldn’t believe it.”

The Lebanese-Emirati arts student found herself in love with discovering new scents and started to develop her own. Over the next few years, Haddad researched and met with as many perfume makers in the region as she could, including family members in Saudi Arabia, to understand the traditional fragrances and techniques used in the region.

“The traditional scents — for example, those that my grandmother make — have around 20 ingredients; they are very strong. That’s what the older generation prefers,” said Haddad.

“I never add more than four ingredients. My perfumes are traditional but with a contemporary twist,” she added.

Haddad said she hopes that more people will learn the art of making incense at home and keep this tradition going.

Some of Haddad’s perfumes and ingredients can be found as part of the Lest We Forget exhibition at Warehouse421.

For more information on other events at the venue, visit www.warehouse421.ae

source : gulfnews  
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