In honour of International Women’s Day, we will be posting a Tectonic Woman every day this week. Send us your suggestions! What female artists working for social change inspire you? What projects have they done/are they doing?

Today we’re featuring Ommulbanin Shamsia Hassani, a young Afghan graffiti artist born and raised in Iran. She calls herself a contemporary artists and uses the walls of Kabul as her canvas. Her work contributes to Roshd (growth), a collective of contemporary artists.


As a student of Afghan background in Iran, she was denied entrance into her university’s art program. She studied accounting, which she says was “ok, but a million miles away from painting.” After returning to Afghanistan, she was accepted into the faculty of Arts at Kabul University, and gained further training and exposure to graffiti during a Combat Communications workshop in 2010.


She says that women’s issues are always on her mind, so she tries to reflect their problems. She always features women in burqas in her work, and adds her own aesthetic twist which takes them away from their clichéd form. The poem “Water can come back to a dried up river, but what about the fish that have died?…There is no return of the departed.”  accompanied one of her pieces.


The following interview was featured in the multi-media project, Kabul: A City at Work. Check out her interview HERE.