Afghani street artist draws in NPHS Girl Up

Shamsia Hassani, an arts lecturer at Kabul University, is recognized as the first female graffiti artist in Afghanistan. As a way of commenting on social and political problems, Hassani has painted her artwork on walls all around the world to send her message to a global audience. The Afghani street artist sees art as a peaceful way to communicate and bring about change, especially in her war-torn native country.

Hassani uses several symbols to capture her message, such as the image of a woman with no mouth to show how women are given no voice, closed eyes as a barrier from a violent world and musical instruments as an alternative way to communicate. She brightens these dark themes by using vibrant colors to express the ambitions, passions and creativity within every women.

On Oct. 15, NPHS Girl Up attended an art exhibition in Ventura to see Hassani’s artwork and get a chance to meet her.

Katie Rose, junior, decided to go to the art show out of curiosity. “I wanted to hear the story of a woman from Afghanistan who takes a risk by painting,” Rose said.

Rose summarized the experience with two words: powerful and inspiring. “Despite the risks there are in creating her work, she still cares to get her message out about how women feel in her country.”

Hassani’s art also impacted Luis Rosales, junior, who came to the art show to see her work in person for the first time. “I wanted to support an artist that’s trying to put color in a pretty dark world,” he explained.

Her work broadened Rosales’s view of the obstacles women face. “I value how her work encourages women from her country,” Rosales said. “It makes me feel like more should be done to break the inequality barrier.”

Scott Nagatoshi, junior, was extremely impressed by Hassani’s art. He believes that the political messages behind her work are “influential” and “tend to invoke thought.”

“It was just so interesting to see how she felt she was suppressed where she was, and how in all of her paintings the eyes were closed because she wanted to shield herself from the outside world,” Nagatoshi explained. He felt that her paintings her able to give further insight on the societal issues plaguing Afghanistan.

“I was able to connect myself with the struggles (that people in Afghanistan) are going through,” Nagatoshi said.

Even though each of Hassani’s paintings show women with no mouths, they spoke volumes to every attendee at her art show.

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