Top: A graffiti piece by Shamsia Hassani and Qasem Foushanji on a wall in Kabul, March 5, 2012.

Bottom: Shamsia Hassani signs one of her works in Kabul on Dec. 19, 2010. A group of women in burqas rises from the sea to symbolise cleanliness, while further down the factory wall a bus with no wheels and crammed with passengers is a stark comment on war-torn Kabul’s appalling public transport.



Shamsia Hassani is Afghanistan’s first female street artist, emerges as a spokesperson for women’s rights in Kabul. Born in Iran to Afghan parents, Shamsia Hassani is a street and digital artist working in the country’s complex and conflicted capital, where she returned in 2005 to pursue her education in Fine Art at Kabul University. Shamsia is doing Kabul Street Art and Digital Graffiti due to security issues. Her real (in photo) and digital graffities have been exhibited in many different countries like India, Iran, Germany, Italy and nearly all foreign embassies in Kabul.

Shamsia: “Usually I am painting women with burqas in modernism shape on walls, I want to talk about their life, to find some way to remove them from darkness, to open their mind, to bring some positive changes, trying to remove all bad memories of war from everybody’s mind with covering sad city’s walls with happy colors.”
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Afghani painter Shamsia Hassani on her mural art, via Kabul at Work


MUST SEE & Meet Shamsia Hassani, Afghanistan’s first female street artist and women’s rights activist.

“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 because of its art, not its war.”

Click the photo to read the article and watch video.


El Mac and Shamsia - Saigon, Vietnam

بعضی حرفها را باید دید ،بعضی حرفها گفتنی نیست.

Translation of Farsi: Some Of The Things You See Are Not Worth Mentioning.

Street art News:

 El Mac is currently in Vietnam where he just completed this beautiful collaboration with Shamsia Hassani on the streets of Saigon, Vietnam.

The American artist painted one of his signature photo-realistic portraits while the Afghan Artist wrote in Persian “ بعضی حرفها را باید دید ،بعضی حرفها گفتنی نیست.” which translates to “Some Of The Things You See Are Not Worth Mentioning”.


In the words of the artist , El Mac on his new piece for the 7th Asia Pacific Triennial in Australia: this “is a collaboration with Shamsia Hassani and the Propeller Group. Shamsia Hassani is the first and probably only serious female graffiti writer in Afghanistan, and is also an associate professor in the Fine Arts Department at Kabul University. I painted the central figure in the piece based on photos I took of her, using spraypaint and fatcaps, freehand as usual. Shamsia painted the surrounding designs and poetry with spraypaint and acrylic.

"Birds of no nation
Are all captive
Like me
With no voice for singing”

The somber depictions of Afghan women on Kabul’s rutted streets offer rare public insight into their lives, still marred by violence and injustice despite progress in women’s rights since the Taliban was toppled over a decade ago.

In an abandoned textile factory, Hassani spray-painted a wall with six willowy figures in sky-blue burqas, who rise out of the ground like ghosts.

“In three decades of war, women have had to carry the greatest burdens on their shoulders,” Hassani, who also works in the faculty of fine arts at Kabul University, told Reuters.

Her friend and fellow artist Qasem Foushanji, 25, said he avoids images he describes as cliché, such as the Taliban, but wants to produce socially political art about aspects of Afghan life that “make people go nuts, like women being beaten.”

—  Reuters article about Kabul street artists Shamsia Hassani and Qasem Foushanji.

The Propeller Group and Shamsia Hassani | based in Vietnam/California/Afghanistan

VIET NAM THE WORLD TOUR [Birds of No Nation] | 2010 - PRESENT

Viet Nam The World Tour began in 2010 as a rogue anti-nation-rebranding campaign. It appropriates marketing language, graffiti strategies, and viral video platforms to re-associate a historically colonized and mediated national identity with an entirely new mediated history.

Viet Nam The World Tour collaborates with leading street dancers, graffiti artitsts, public muralists, thinkers, writers, designers and artists and brings them on a tour around the world; creating public interventions, performances, interactive events and workshops, and giving away t-shirts, stickers, and other memorabilia.

Our most recent iteration of the project, entitled Birds of No Nation, is a traveling mural that features a collaboration between El Mac of Los Angeles and Shamsia Hassani of Kabul, Afghanistan.

The 7-meter-wide mural [enamel and acrylic on canvas] is a portrait of Shamsia painted by El Mac in his very unique style using spray cans. The design elements were painted by Shamsia and is an extension of her own graffiti work. The poem, written in Pashto by Shamsia reads: Birds of no nation / All are captive / Like me / Without voices to sing. read more