Amidst the current scenario in Afghanistan with the Taliba takeover and the increasing oppression against women, one artist has stood out for her courage and sensitivity: Shamsia Hassani.
Shamsia is an artist who taught college in Kabul and is considered the country's first graffiti artist, and her works depict the role and position of women in an oppressive society, but also the contrast of current times.
She started getting involved with graffiti after a workshop led by artist CHU in Kabul, and has since developed a unique and easily identifiable style: a woman with no mouth and closed eyes.
"I really liked it and thought it had many uses. I believed that graffiti can be a tool through which I will transform the war-torn walls of my city into colorful paintings," Shamsia explained. "The colors would hide war stories on the walls of my city and people would see new things instead of bullet signs and cracks."
"I also believed that it could be a way for people to experience my art, people who have never been to an exhibition and never seen my works. They could have the opportunity to discover and enjoy something new." Maybe some would even take pictures in front of it and have a few minutes of entertainment."
The challenge of being a street artist is even greater in a country where women are allowed to do practically nothing, and Shamsia has been cursed at and even called a sinner at times. She recounts that she felt insecure very quickly when she went to paint in the street, sometimes staying only 15 minutes and returning home. So she decided to simplify her artwork instead of leaving unfinished work.
Check out some more of the amazing work of the first Afghan graffiti artist below.