Shamsia Hassani – Spray-painting the streets of Kabul

Posted filed underAfghanistan, Graffiti, Street Art.


Inside the blackened ruin of Kabul’s cultural centre, a spray-painting of a woman in a burqa sits at the foot of a staircase to nowhere, beside a line of poetry mourning everything that has been lost to Afghanistan in three decades of violence.

The painting is the work of Shamsia Hassani, 24, probably her country’s first serious graffiti artist.

Fascinating story at The Guardian: “The water can come back to a dried-up river, but what about the fish that died?” is her translation of the line, written under gaping holes gouged through the concrete walls by shells when battles raged through the area.

“When I heard this poem, I thought how it was about the situation in Afghanistan. A lot of people died in the war; now the situation is better, but those people cannot come back,” said Hassani.

An associate professor of sculpture at Kabul University, she draws, paints in oil, and is a founding member of a contemporary art collective, Rosht, or “growth”. She was introduced to graffiti when a British artist, Chu, flew out in late 2010 to hold a week-long course in street art.

She has embraced the discipline. Spray cans and stencils have more impact than traditional art, she says, because the latter is a luxury.

“If you have an exhibition, most uneducated people won’t even know about it.”

” But if you have art like graffiti in the street, everyone can see that … If we can do graffiti all over the city, there will be nobody who doesn’t know about art.”

Read on at The Guardian.

Photograph: © Omar Sobhani/Reuters

More about Ommolbanin Shamsia Hassani at Freedom to Create and Talents of Afghanistan.