In Afghanistan, the first female street artist taunts the Taliban

In Afghanistan, the first female street artist taunts the Taliban

Jean Dubreil | Sep 20, 2021 4 minutes read

Afghanistan's first female street artist is Shamsia Hassani. The compositions of Hassani are both of women in a male-dominated culture and create an impression of the clash between light and darkness. However, she had to deal with cultural and social issues as well as a lack of spaces where graffiti could be done. 

Afghanistan's first female street artist is Shamsia Hassani, who has worked as a painter at Kabul University. The compositions of Hassani are both of women in a male-dominated culture and create an impression of the clash between light and darkness which has possessed the area she considers home. She was drawn to graffiti in 2010 after attending a workshop taught by the UK artist CHU.

The Afghani Shamsia Hassani was born in Iran in 1988 to Afghan parents. Because there is no Iranian law that recognizes her as an Iranian citizen, she was Afghan when she was born. She can vividly recall that Iranians could not take jobs in Iran due to their nationality. Afghans were informed that they were not allowed to work, therefore her parents were up against a lot of obstacles. However, she was too young to understand. Shamsia was eventually forced to return to Afghanistan. After her 2010 visit to Kabul, where she participated in a graffiti course, where she took this road. she went to the workshop with nine colleagues. CHU, a UK graffiti artist, was invited to head the event.

CHU's lectures were theoretical, practical, and included lectures on many artists from throughout the world, they have learned about graffiti for the first time. Following the course,  they have learned about the use of spray techniques to paint large-scale wall art. In addition to Shamsia, the other nine artists who participated in the workshop had no intentions of continuing their work with graffiti or pursuing the art form after the meeting. However, she was fascinated. She thought it was quite cool and could be used in many ways. Shamsia thought that she believed graffiti could be a means to transform the war-ravaged walls of her hometown into vibrant murals. Because of the colors, she could cover the walls of the city with stories of conflict and no one would detect bullet holes or cracks.

It was also her hope that it would serve as a way for others to experience her art, as they would not otherwise have access to her works if they were unable to view an exhibition. They may get an opportunity to try something new and appreciate it. It's possible that some people might even take a photo in front of it for a few minutes of enjoyment. However, as Shamsia began her graffiti career, her country became more hazardous, and she was no longer able to paint and do so in public. Also, she had to deal with some other cultural challenges. She explains that Afghans don't have a problem with art, but they do have a problem with women's activities. When people saw her tagging, they used harsh language, cursed, and judged her for her actions.”

She would only paint in public places for about 15 minutes before she started to feel insecure, so she would pack up and go. she would have had a greater chance of doing a better job on her artwork if she had been able to stay for roughly 2-3 hours, but she only had 15 minutes, so she could either paint something extremely simple or leave the piece unfinished. 

Despite the continued conflict and many political and social concerns, Shamsia claimed that the circumstances for women really improved after the fall of the Taliban in 2001, with women progressively entering society and having the ability to learn and develop. Many women's professional pursuits advanced in diverse disciplines, such as education, trade, culture, and medicine, throughout the course of the previous two decades. The advancement was slight yet promising. Sadly, things have gotten even worse. The Taliban are now back, and many women are leaving the nation. They do not believe they have a bright future. All the work over the years amounted to nothing. Sadness and regret weigh heavily on Hassani, who, despite escaping from harm, is, unfortunately, having to flee her nation.

She often has a reoccurring character in her paintings. As do movie characters, her has his role to play. And since she's a woman, and since she believes that women have greater limitations than men in their culture, she has elected to depict her protagonist as a woman. An unspecified woman with closed eyelids and no mouth, always accompanied by a battered musical instrument that imbues her with the confidence to speak and perform. Her closed eyes signify that there is nothing to look forward to. The artist stated that her art is centered on persons and societal issues, but that it also touches on politics from time to time.

Many of her characters play dual roles as fighters or refugees without a future. . In addition to being hopeless, she also battles with the past and the future, as well as with the sadness and agony that come with it. She is, however, a patriot who loves her homeland and is fighting hopelessness.

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