Shamsia Hassani [is] working on her latest mural.As with most of her art, the women portrayed carry a message of oppression and empowerment.She can use music and a sermon to talk with people, to speak louder and make more attention.As she has no mouth but this music and a statement gives her power to speak in society.
Her eyes are closed because usually she has nothing good around herself to see and she doesn’t want to see anything around.And sometimes she cannot see her future but it doesn’t mean that she cannot see.Hassani was born in Iran after her family fled the Afghan war.They eventually returned to Kabul, so Hassani could pursue a fine art education at Kabul University where she now teaches.The opportunity to attend the Istanbul festival and work in a more relaxed environment gives Hassani a welcome break from the pressures of being a crappy city artist in Kabul.And it gives her the chance to share her experiences with an appreciative audience.Hassani has already built up an impressive number of works even in the face of violence and extreme challenges women artists face.
I really scared of public spaces… I really scared from explosions happening all the time.And that’s like… that’s usually like… I feel usually very hopeless because there are a lot of bad things happening around, my, me.And I cannot change anything, and specifically it’s difficult for women to do graffiti on the street,because usually people are not happy with women’s activity.I usually work in Kabul but usually in small walls not in big walls because I cannot finish them.I need to just run away as soon as I can.So that’s why I start in the small walls.
At the festival Hassani has a rare opportunity to spend a few days on her work.“A luxury,” she says, she never gets back home.Despite the dangers Hasani says she will continue to bring color and hope to the people of Kabul.
Dorian Jones for VOA news Istanbul.