The streets of Afghanistan have seen the despair and anguish of war and civil unrest but Shamsia Hassani is bringing a new picture to people’s eyes. The first female graffiti artist of Afghanistan, she wishes to bring back some colour and light to the war-stricken lanes of Kabul with her art.
“I want to colour over the bad memories of war on the walls”, said Hassani in one of her interviews with Art Radar.
As an art form graffiti has traditionally been used to portray a voice, idea, and a perception…it is a democratic medium that allows for artists to speak to their audience freely. In a country where free speech is still a dream, Hassani is giving the citizens new and positive ideas through her illustrations.
She often paints women in Burqas, and also draws some experience from her own life to portray images of empowered women. Symbolic shapes like fish and women playing the piano are some of the visuals that you will see in her drawings. One of her art series known as “Birds Have No Nation” portray Afghani women playing musical instruments which denote freedom of expression, choice and thought.
She is also one of the founders of Berang Arts Organization and teaches fine art at the Kabul University.
“I want to show that women have returned to Afghan society with a new, stronger shape”, she told Art Radar.
I want to colour over the bad memories of war on the walls
Being a female artist is no less a challenge, especially in Afghanistan where many believe that a woman’s place is confined to the household. Graffiti art is looked upon as vandalism by the authorities in these countries and women’s rights are next to nil.
You’d think an innocent art wouldn’t hurt any sentiments, but the oppressors of women’s rights view this freedom of expression as a privilege that they don’t deem fit to grant to the women of their society. On the other hand, this art ignites sentiments too; of those who wish to be free of the shackles of the unequal norms defining a woman’s place.
Shamsia Hassani is one of the few women in the state who are doing their bit to uplift the status of women in their country. A salute to these women and their efforts to bring a change!
Feature Image Credit: latimes.com