“The word henna means to bring out the inner light that’s inside of you onto the skin, that inner beauty coming out. It reminds them that they are beautiful.”
2017 top 20 ArtPrize artist Amanda Gilbert says henna is an art form she will take with her anywhere as a theraputic coping outlet for anxiety. When she started applying henna on other women, Amanda came to the realization that it can be just as therapeutic for others as it is for herself.
Amanda had the vision to use henna as a ministry.
“It wasn’t neccesarily the goal was ArtPrize it was more this movement for creating this ministry.”
She started on this journey by volunteering her time at a salon in Comstock Park called Beautiful You. This salon gives free services to cancer patients once a month, which was very fitting for Amanda’s ministry.
Conversations with cancer patients began to get deeper and these women started opening up to Amanda.
“This art breaks all cultural boundaries and all religious boundaries. Women from all over the world do it for the same purpose of bringing beauty on the skin.”
It is a blessing for Amanda to know that what she and the team are doing reminds cancer patients to speak love of their body instead of hating their body because they are sick. These women decide to choose joy over fear.
“You don’t always hear the stories, and a lot of the time, cancer is fought behind closed doors. I was able to be blessed enough to be in these women’s lives.”
This art is bringing positivity to the process of losing hair. It is hard for women to let go of something that society says makes you beautiful. These women would go to Amanda telling her it is scary for them to look in the mirror because they wouldn’t know who they were. These women are losing more than just their hair, they are losing a part of their identity.
“It is temporary so it reminds you that everything in life is temporary, and what you’re going through right now will soon fade just like this tattoo, and your hair will also come back.”
These women inspired Amanda to crown them with beauty and crown them with courage so they could let go of their hair and not be afraid to take control by choosing joy and love over fear.
“The psychology of it is crucial for the healing process and a lot of times people focus on the diagnosis instead of the person. It’s not just a physical battle, it’s a spiritual and emotional battle. It’s one you have to choose that you’re already winning.”
With the help of boyfriend Steven Stone, photographer David Burgess, and make up artists Jessica Renusson and Tara Pennington all in collaboration, Amanda has created a ministry for so many amazing women.
The photoshoot provided by David Burgess is a timecapsule for these women to look back on and remember that they are beautiful.
The confidence of these women has grown immensley while Amanda’s perspective has changed so much. She is beyond thankful for the women she has crowned with courage because they have helped her just as much as she has helped them.
Amanda says these women have become family to her and that is a big reason why they have a goal to make Crowns Of Courage in to a non-profit and continue to crown women with courage.
“I want to make them warrior princesses.”
Please consider donating to Crowns Of Courage so that Amanda and her amazing team can reach their goal of turning this ministry into a non-profit. Visit their website https://www.crownsofcourage.org/ to read more about each woman’s individual story.