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The First Female Street Artist in Afghanistan Spreads Beauty & Feminism

A daughter to Afghanistan parents, Iranian-born street artist Shamsia Hassani is the first prominent female street artist in Afghanistan. Challenging gender norms and cultural expectations, Hassani aims to design murals, which inspire beauty and heal years of scars in a war-driven country. Although Hassani encounters sexist beliefs and discouragement due to her gender, she aims to deliver a different perspective on what it means to be a Muslim woman in Afghanistan. Depicting her subjects in colorful and multi-interpretive scenarios Hassani assigns them strength through sharply composed bodies, as oppose to giving each female model a dainty and delicate figure. She says:

“In my artwork, there is lots of movement. I want to show that women have returned to Afghan society with a new, stronger shape. It’s not the woman who stays at home. It’s a new woman. A woman who is full of energy, who wants to start again. You can see that in my artwork, I want to change the shape of women. I am painting them larger than life. I want to say that people look at them differently now.”

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