Shamisia Hassani is the first female graffiti artist from Afghanistan. Through her work, she testifies about Afghan women in a male-dominated society, giving them a different face, with power, ambitions, and the will to achieve goals. The female image portrayed in Shamisia’s work does not surrender to oppression but shows strong, beautiful, and hopeful women.
Shamisia’s journey led her to experience resilience. The Dreaming Graffiti series reflects that strength: «When it started getting nearly impossible to do graffiti in the city, an idea came to mind. So I took my camera and started taking pictures of different angles of the city, walls, buildings, and places that I wanted to do graffiti on. I printed large-scale photographs of my pictures, took my brush, and painted my works on the walls in the photo. Whenever I looked at the photos with my works on, I thought that I had done graffiti on the actual location and not on the painting, it was just a dream, my dream to paint on the walls of my city, and that is why I called it Dreaming Graffiti«.
Later came brighter times in which Shamisia could paint graffiti on walls in Afghanistan, the United States, Italy, Denmark, Germany, India, Vietnam, Switzerland, Norway, and other countries. Most of Hassani’s work is in Kabul, but her latest murals abroad were created for Wide Open Walls in Sacramento and Eugene’s Mural Project in Oregon.
Shamisia’s sensitivity and concern for the social issues of her country inspired a beautiful series of her work: «Lately, what bothers me the most is people migrating as refugees to other countries. Afghans do not want to carry their nationality anymore. They leave their country and travel to other countries, and most die and lose their families. Nobody welcomes them to their country, and people look at them with pity. It bothers me. Keeping the above in mind, I started a series called Birds of No Nation. This series is about Afghans who migrate to other countries, Afghans who no longer have a nationality, who is from nowhere, and those Afghans who seek security and peace. While working on my latest artworks, almost 80% of the time, I think about my people who are seeking peace.»
Prestige was an exhibition in Los Angeles and New York. Roya Khadjavi and Maryam Seyhoun created a stage for the artist to exercise her freedom while pointing to the foundations of a difficult and sensitive period in the history of Afghanistan. ¨Prestige is a colorful and lighthearted depiction of youth and hope. Hassani’s girl is active, strong, graceful, and dynamic. Although sometimes lost in reflection, her energy, youth, and coy sweetness command the viewer’s attention. Shamisia wants to show the world…she is committed to keeping her pride, dignity, and identity. ¨
Shamisia’s brushes and techniques translate dreams onto paper, fabrics, or walls. However, those brushstrokes do not separate the artist from reality. The recent earthquake that struck Turkey is already reflected in her work. ¨Since I heard about the earthquake in Turkey and Syria, this image has been stuck in my mind, and I can’t stop thinking about them. I’m so sorry…Whenever I hear/read news about an incident, I find myself inside it, as if by reading it, my soul and spirit have become a part of the news, and I feel it. Recently there have been many unfortunate occurrences, and my soul has wandered so much that at any moment, I find myself in several happenings in several parts of the world. I find that my soul is tired of all this torment…The unfortunate circumstance that has surrounded my people and the women of my country, the recent events in Iran, the people of Ukraine, war-torn countries, and this week’s earthquake in Syria and Turkey have affected me deeply. ¨
Shamisia’s art is stripped-down, beautiful, and moving. She has found an aesthetic and valuable way to give a powerful testimony of artists’ strength, creativity, and transformative influence in just a few strokes.»