Shamsia Hassani is an Afghan graffiti artist, lecturer, and professor of sculpture at Kabul University. She was born into an Afghan family living in Iran where she was not allowed to study art. When her family returned to Afghanistan, she studied painting at Kabul University, earned her master’s degree, and started teaching there.
Trained as a classical painter, she switched to contemporary mural art. Hassan paints canvases in her studio, incorporating traditional graffiti elements like stenciled text and spray can designs and using a brush for more detailed line work.
Once every six months, she will paint in a public place in Afghanistan but is forced to paint quickly because of the danger of being a woman alone in a public place. Her gallery paintings, like her murals, are depiction of women in Afghan clothing, with a guitar or keyboard, surrounded by Dari text.
In 2016, Hassani had a two-month residency at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles where she finished a large mural in L.A. Upon her return to Kabul, her mission was to beautify her city with color amid the darkness of war and to expose people to contemporary art -especially wall art and graffiti, which can serve as a form of social and political expression. She has also been involved in presenting this art work in a digital format through her project “Dreaming Graffiti.”