Afghanistan’s first female street artist risks her life to empower women (photos)

July 27, 2017

Afghanistan-based feminist graffiti artist risks her life to show her perspective of hope for the world she lives in. Her name is Shamsia Hassani, and she is the first female 3-D street artist and female graffiti Artist in Afghanistan. Her art is meant to bring about positive change in the country. She uses powerful shapes and bright colours to depict women in burqas in an attempt to wash away the depressing memories that engulf the war torn country with positive and hopeful images for Afghanistan’s future.

Hassani was born in 1988 in Teheran, Iran where her parents had briefly immigrated from their native Kandahar, Afghanistan. The Hassanis left Kanadhar to escape the tragedy of the war years in Afganistan. From her youth Hassani has been interested in art, despite the fact that she was prohibited from being taught due to her Afgani nationality in the 9th grade.

While attending Kabul University Hassani took a street art class taught by UK street artist Chu. After this class Hassani took to the streets of Afganistan and began the work that would have her listed on FP’s top 100 gobal thinkers list in 2014.

Her art is meant to help the nation move on from the horrors of war, but also serves as a reminder for the tragedies Afgani women go through, especially during war. Hassani said “image has more effect than words, and it’s a friendly way to fight.”

Hassani went on to do a mural on the Kabul Cultural center with an image of a woman wearing a burqa seated below a staircare with an inscription that in english means “The water can come back to a dried up lake, but what about the fish that died?”. Hassani is forced to finish her work as fast as possible to avoid harassment and endangerment as it is seen as “un-islamic”.

Hassani is also a lecturer at her alma mater, Kabul University, and is an associate professor of sculpture.