Shamsia Hassani

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Shamsia Hassani
Portrait Shamsia Hassani.jpg
Born 1988
Teheran, Iran
Nationality Afghanistan
Known for Graffiti artist and professor of sculpture at Kabul University
Notable work Graffiti art in the street walls of Kabul
Shamsia Hassani in Afghanistan

Shamsia Hassani (Dari: شمسیه حسینی)(born 1988) is an Afghan graffiti artist, a fine arts lecturer, and associate professor of sculpture at the Kabul University. She has popularized "street art" in the streets of Kabul. She has exhibited her street and digital art in several countries including India, Iran, Germany, Italy and in diplomatic missions in Kabul.[1][2] In 2014, Hassani was named one of FP's top 100 global thinkers.[3]

Hassani paints graffiti in Kabul to bring awareness to the war years.[2]

Biography[edit]

Graffiti at Darul Aman Palace, Kabul, Afghanistan
Graffiti in Switzerland by Shamsia Hassani

Hassani was born in 1988 in Tehran, Iran where her parents had temporarily emigrated from their native Kandahar, Afghanistan during the war years.[1][2] Hassani showed interest in painting from a young age. While studying in the ninth grade in Tehran she was not permitted to learn art as it was not permitted for students from Afghanistan. On her return to Kabul in 2005 she pursued a degree course at Kabul University in the traditional art form. Later, she joined Kabul University as a lecturer and then as an associate professor of sculpture. She established "Rosht", a contemporary art collective.[4][5] She uses the colorfulness of graffiti to cover up the negative reminders of the war from the peoples minds.[6] She claims that "image has more effect than words, and it's a friendly way to fight."[6] She also uses her art to fight for women rights, reminding people of the tragedies women face in Afghanistan.[6]

Hassani learned graffiti in a workshop in Kabul in December 2010 hosted by Chu, a graffiti artist from the United Kingdom. It was organized by the Combat Communications. Following the workshop she began to practice street art on the walls of houses in the streets of Kabul. She adopted this art form as spray cans and stencils are much cheaper than supplies for traditional art forms.[2] One of her works is on the walls of Kabul's Cultural Centre. It is a burqa clad woman seated below a stairway. The inscription below it, when translated to English says "The water can come back to a dried-up river, but what about the fish that died?" She completes her work quickly, within 15 minutes, to avoid public harassment and claims that her work is "un-Islamic".[7]

War and burqas[edit]

In 2013 she told Art Radar: "I want to colour over the bad memories of war on the walls, and if I colour over these bad memories, then I erase [war] from people's minds. I want to make Afghanistan famous for its art, not its war,"[4]

Hassani mainly depicts stylized, monumental images of women wearing burqas. According to the artist,"I want to show that women have returned to Afghan society with a new, stronger shape. It's a new woman. A woman who is full of energy, who wants to start again.".[4] In an interview the Hassani explained, "I believe there are many who forget all the tragedy women face in Afghanistan that is why I use my paintings as a mean to remind the people. I want to highlight the matter in the society, with paintings reflecting women in Burqas everywhere. And I try to show them bigger than what they are in reality, and in modern forms, in shaped in happiness, movement, maybe stronger. I try to make people look at them differently.".[8]

As a female street artist, Hassani is often harassed: "It is very dangerous for a girl to paint in the streets in Kabul," she says, "sometimes people come and harass me; they don't think it is allowed in Islam for a woman to stand in the street and do graffiti."[9]

Digital art[edit]

Hassani is also involved in presenting this art work in a digital format through her project titled "Dreaming Graffiti." This presentation is made in a series in which she paints or "Photoshops colours and images onto digital photographs to explore issues of national and personal security".[5]

Prizes and awards[edit]

In 2014, Hassani was shortlisted for the Artraker Award for her project "The Magic of Art Is the Magic of Life."[5]

Hassani mainly depicts stylized, monumental images of women wearing burqas. According to the artist,"I want to show that women have returned to Afghan society with a new, stronger shape. It's a new woman. A woman who is full of energy, who wants to start again." In an interview the Hassani explained, "I believe there are many who forget all the tragedy women face in Afghanistan that is why I use my paintings as a mean to remind the people. I want to highlight the matter in the society, with paintings reflecting women in Burqas everywhere. And I try to show them bigger than what they are in reality, and in modern forms, in shaped in happiness, movement, maybe stronger. I try to make people look at them differently."

As a female street artist, Hassani is often harassed: "It is very dangerous for a girl to paint in the streets in Kabul," she says, "sometimes people come and harass me; they don't think it is allowed in Islam for a woman to stand in the street and do graffiti."

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Shamsia Hassani". Kabul Art Project. Retrieved 27 March 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d Graham-Harrison, Emma (24 February 2012). "Shamsia Hassani". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 March 2016. 
  3. ^ "Shamsia Hassani: Afghanistan's Street Art Star - in pictures". The Guardian. December 17, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c "Shamsia Hassani: 'I want to colour over the bad memories of war'". The Guardian. 17 September 2015. Retrieved 27 March 2016. 
  5. ^ a b c Clark, Nick (14 September 2014). "Hassani has been shortlisted for the prize, which is announced in London this week". Independent. Retrieved 26 March 2016. 
  6. ^ a b c "Street Art Bio | Street Artists Biographies". Street Art Bio | Street Artists Biographies. Retrieved 2017-05-04. 
  7. ^ "Afghan graffiti artist Shamsia Hassani shortlisted for Artraker Award - but she still has to dodge landmines to create her work". Independent. 14 September 2014. Retrieved 27 March 2016. 
  8. ^ "Street Art Bio - Street Artists Biographies". Street Art Bio - Street Artists Biographies. Retrieved 6 May 2015. 
  9. ^ "She Is Afghanistan's First Street Artist, and She Might Actually Change Our Views". The Huffington Post UK. Retrieved 6 May 2015. 

External links[edit]