Meet Shamsia Hassani, who is Afghanistan’s first street artist and professor in the Fine Arts Department at Kabul University.
Shamsia began painting on walls after seeing the British street artist Chu who held a graffiti workshop in Kabul in 2010. She uses her talents to paint hijabs on city walls to express feminism.
“Usually I am painting women with burqas in modernism shape on walls, I want to talk about their life, to find some way to remove them from darkness, to open their mind, to bring some positive changes, trying to remove all bad memories of war from everybody’s mind with covering sad city’s walls with happy colors.”
Shamsia refute those Western assumptions, showing that there can be freedom within tradition, as reported by Huffington Post.
“There are a lot of people around the world who think that the burqa is the problem. They think that if women remove the burqa, then they have no problems. But this is not true. I feel that there are lots of problems in Afghanistan for women. For example, when women cannot have access to education, this is more of a problem then wearing a burqa.”
It’s difficult for Shamsia to be out on the streets, she also regularly receives abuse from passers-by.
“It is difficult-to-impossible to continue with street art in Kabul, but I’m not put off by the risk,” she said. “As a woman it’s difficult to be out on the street by myself. Women often get harassed and it’s not very comfortable.”
“People surround me and shout at me to stop or say bad words. Many don’t agree with this form of art,” she said.