Artist: Shamsia Hassani

An exhibition of paintings and three dimensional works by graffiti artist Shamsia Hassani who despite the danger she faces is “re-spraying” Afghanistan’s cultural image. Forgoing the jargon of headlines news, this exhibit reintroduces the often over looked people, culture and artistic expression of Afghanistan.

Shamsia Hassani is unable to speak the language of the expected. As one of the handful female graffiti artists in the world she has chosen an independent style during a period of her country’s history which is crippled by socio-economic and political challenges marked by the aftermath of war. As Leeza Ahmady comments:

" Having spent time with young artists in Kabul through my role in dOCUMENTA's seminars & exhibition (2010-2012) and other subsequent research trips to Afghanistan, I have followed Shamsia's works with much interest. Her works are in a sense self-portraits rendered in her signature contemporary pop-animation inspired pseudo-surrealist style that may unconsciously aspire to also incorporate some of Afghanistan's rich local folkloric and classic artistic vocabularies.  As self-portraits they are representations of the different parts of herself, of her aspirations, her imaginative and playful personality traits, and deep desire to make her mark on the setting of an impressive new young Afghan artistic generation. A collective much like other collective youths in cities across Asia and the world determined to live as fully and as creatively self expressed as possible, connected to their local societal peers but also to global communities through today's numerous savvy social media tools like never before." (Leeza Ahmady, Independent Curator and Director of Asia Contemporary Art Week educational and curatorial platform)

With this representation Roya Khadjavi and Maryam Seyhoun built a stage for the artist to exercise her freedom while signaling the underpinnings of a complex and terribly emotional period in Afghanistan’s history. Freedom unfolds in the realm of artistic play characterizing Hassani’s impulse as a contemporary artist to change the view of the devastation in Kabul by covering the bad memories of war one paint spray can at a time.

Prestige is a colorful and lighthearted depiction of youth and hope. Hassani’s girl is active, strong, graceful and dynamic. Although sometimes lost in reflection, her energy and youth combined with a coy sweetness commands the viewer’s attention. She wants to show the world that she is a person, that she has worked hard to make it through all the atrocities, and weather she lives in her country of birth or has migrated to a foreign land she is committed to keep her pride, her dignity, and her identity.