Amidst the current scenario in Afghanistan with the takeover of the Taliba and the growing oppression against women, one artist has stood out for her courage and sensitivity: Shamsia Hassani.
Shamsia is an artist who taught at Kabul College and is considered the country's first graffiti artist, and her works portray 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 since then has developed a unique and easily identifiable style: a woman with no mouth and closed eyes.
“I liked it a lot and I 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,” explained Shamsia. "The colors would hide war stories on my city walls and people would see new things instead of bullet and crack marks."
"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 artwork." They could have the opportunity to discover and enjoy something new.” Maybe some would even take pictures in front of her and have a few minutes of entertainment.”
The challenge of being a street performer is even greater in a country where women can do virtually nothing, and Shamsia has been called names and even called a sinner at times. She recounts that she felt insecure very quickly when she went to paint on the street, sometimes staying only 15 minutes and then returning home. With that, she decided to simplify her art instead of leaving unfinished work.
Check out some more of the amazing works of the first Afghan graffiti artist below.