CONFLICT AREA / COUNTRY OF REFERENCE: AFGHANISTAN
The Magic of Art is Magic of Life
Graffiti and 3D street art painting
© Artraker CIC 2014
Shamsia Hassani was born in 1988 in Iran. She is an Afghan graffiti artist and lecturer at the Faculty of Fine Arts, Kabul University. In her graffiti, Shamsia often paints women in burqas, women without burqas with their eyes closed, and fish, which are symbols of the atmosphere flowing around her and her own life experiences. She uses her art to bring positive changes to people and to wash away the depressing memories of Afghanistan’s long war. As an Afghan woman confronting traditional views, it is not easy for Shamsia to create her graffiti. She sometimes works her graffiti concepts out as drawings or paintings applied onto photographs taken around Kabul, a category she calls ‘Dream of Graffiti’. In April 2014, Shamsia produced 3D street art in Afghan roads for the first time. Shortlisted for the Afghan Contemporary Art Prize in 2009, Shamsia’s work has been exhibited internationally.
My project uses graffiti and 3D street art painting to demonstrate the power of art for all people. The subject of my artworks is an Afghan woman with and without the burqa. When without it, I am fighting to bring positive change as I take off the bad memories of war.
Since everybody forgets women in society, painting women in public ways can encourage other people to see women in society differently. Freedom is not to remove the burqa, it is to have peace. The subject has a very particular guitar but does not use it to play music. Instead I play with unspoken words.
In my 3D street art project there is an Afghan woman who does not speak the words in her heart, but plays those words with her guitar. She wants to show the magic of art to people. She does not look and does not say anything to confirm that in my country things are 80% negative, but that behind it things are 20% positive, and that we can develop that positivity. 20% worth of light can break up 80% worth of darkness, because that is the power of light. Even less light would be enough.