Do what you love to do. Share your story and empower others.

By Arjin Celik 

Shamsia Hassani is from Afghanistan, her parents migrated to Tehran, Iran during the wartime. Born in 1988 Shamsia showed an interest in art and painting at a young age. When she was in ninth grade in Tehran it was not allowed for students from Afghanistan to study art. Later on, in 2005 she moved to Kabul to pursue an art career at the University of Kabul. She established “Rosht”, a contemporary art collective. She loves colour and uses the colourfulness of graffiti to cover up damaging, negative reminders of war from people’s minds. Shamsia said “image has more effect than words, and it’s a friendly way to fight.”

She uses her talent to fight for women’s rights, reminding people all over the world of the
disasters women face in Afghanistan.

Shamsia learned graffiti in 2010 at a workshop in Kabul, December 2010 hosted by Chu who
is a graffiti artist from the U.K. After the workshop, she practiced street art on the walls of
houses. She used spray cans and stencils for her graffiti wall art.

One of my favourite works is of a girl wearing a burqa seated below a stairway. The inscription below it says, “The water can come back to a dried-up river, but what about the fish that died?” (translated into English). She must complete her work quickly, within 15 mins otherwise she might be harassed by the public and would claim that her work is “un-Islamic.”

It is not always easy for her to do her work the way other graffiti artists would do around
the world and that makes her work really special. No matter the boundaries and
stereotypes Shamsia is following her passion, her dream. There are many things in life that
might try to stop you from following your passion but it’s never the end of your journey.
Follow your dream and work hard for it. Whatever was in the past is in the past, stay strong
and do what you love to do.

One of my favourite quotes is “Just keep moving forward and don’t give a shit about what anybody thinks. Do what you have to do for you.”-Johnny Depp.

This is exactly what Shamsia is doing, she’s doing what she wants to do no matter what the government says.

Stay positive and share your story, yes you because we all have to help each other, empower, inspire and motivate each other. Let’s break the stereotypes and move forward, not backwards. “Turn your wounds into wisdom.” – Oprah.

For more information about Shamsia and to see some of her work follow the link: http://www.kabulartproject.com/artists/shamsia-hassani/