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Shamsia Hassani, the 1st Afghan female graffiti/street artist

Arte, Citizens of the World, Personaggi di Miriam Bendìa

27 Agosto 2021

 

Art changes people’s minds and people change the world.

Shamsia Hassani

 

 

Born April 1988, is the first female graffiti artist of Afghanistan. Through her artworks, Shamsia portrays Afghan women in a male dominant society.

 

 

I want to color the bad memories of the war and if I paint these bad memories, then I erase the war from people’s minds. I want to make Afghanistan famous for its art, not its war.

 

 

Her art gives Afghan women a different face, a face with power, ambitions, and willingness to achieve goals. The woman character used in her artworks portrays a human being who is proud, loud, and can bring positive changes to people’s lives.

 

 

 

During the last decade of post-war era in Afghanistan, Shamsia’s works have brought in a huge wave of color and appreciation to all the women in the country.

 

 

Shamsia was born in Iran in 1988, of 2 refugees from Kandahar.
Her parents had emigrated there because of the war.
In 2005 she returned to her homeland to study art at the University of Kabul, where she became an associate professor of sculpture.

 

 

The artist started making graffiti in 2010, thanks to a workshop organized by Combat Communications:

A street artist named CHU came here from the UK to teach us graffiti techniques.

 

 

 

For 11 years now she has been dealing with Street Art, an immediate and unfiltered form of art.

 

 

Her artworks have inspired thousands of women around the world and has given a new hope to female Afghan artists in the country.

 

 

 

She has motivated hundreds of Afghans to bring in their creativity through her graffiti festival, art classes, and exhibitions in different countries around the world.

 

Shamsia Hassani is therefore the first Afghan street artist, whose work portrays Afghan women and gives voice, even in this moment in which they face the renewed Taliban. Despite the danger, Hassani pursues his work of resistance.

 

 

Shamsia: «When it started getting nearly impossible to do graffiti in the city, an idea came into my mind.
I took my camera and started taking pictures of different angles of the city, walls, buildings, and place that I wanted to do graffiti on. I printed large scale photographs of my pictures, took my brush and painted my works on the walls in the photo.»

 

 

Whenever I looked at the photos with my works on, I thought that I have done graffiti on the actual location and not on the painting, it was just a dream, my dream to paint on the walls of my city, and that is why I called it Dreaming Graffiti.

 

 

 

She had already achieved some level of international success in past years, known for her bold promotion of female voices, had traveled to attend residencies and gallery exhibitions in numerous North American, European and Asian countries.

 

She made it to Foreign Policy’s list of 100 Most Important Global Thinkers of 2014 and was included in the second volume of Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls, a collection of portraits of revolutionary women from around the world.

 

 

Shamsia Hassani’s graffiti works have been showcased around the world. Her murals are pieces of art on walls of Afghanistan, United States, Italy, Germany, India, Vietnam, Switzerland, Denmark, Norways, and other countries.

While mainly doing graffiti in Kabul, Afghanistan, her last murals abroad were created in Wide Open Walls of Sacramento, and 20×21 Eugene’s mural project in Oregon.

 

 

After the Taliban invasion, she circulated two images showing girls dressed in radiant blue carrying images of hope, and dark and menacing fighters loom over them.

 

The fear, despair and violent repression that Afghan women now face are not the only images present in these works: the strength and voice of these women resonates strongly, as does their desire for self-determination.

 

 

 

The women of Shamsia often hold dandelions in their hands, perhaps because in the language of flowers they are a symbol of hope.

 

Over the past week, women have largely avoided public spaces in the capital, and many artists have deleted chat messages and social media accounts, fearing violent and fatal repercussions from the Taliban.

 

 

This is the artwork that she uploaded today, 27 August, on her Instagram profile.

Explosion at Kabul airport broke my heart, they killed people who wanted to save themselves from Taliban…
Nightmare never ends…

 

انفجار در ميدان هوايي كابل قلبم را شكست … براي نجات از يك بلا در بلاي ديگر افتادند مردم بيچاره ما 💔 چرا اين كابوس تمام نميشود؟

 

 

Hassani is continuing to work. Her manager has let the press know that the artist is in a safe and secret place.

 

 

Miriam Bendìa

 

Cover Ph: Copyright © 2021 Shamsia Hassani, All Rights Reserved.