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This Feminist Street Artist Paints a Hopeful Image Over War-Torn Kabul

Shamsia Hassani’s powerful images bring beauty and color to a suffering city.
Shamsia Hassani with a mural from her "Once Upon a Time" series.
Shamsia Hassani with a mural from her "Once Upon a Time" series.Facebook / Shamsia Hassani

On the very edge of Kabul, down a long, dusty road that cuts through the city, the ruins of Darul Aman Palace stand empty and pocked with shells. The building, once a beautiful nod to neoclassical architecture, is now mostly another reminder of all the ways that war has torn the city apart.

Across the street from the ruins, a brightly-colored mural adorns a drab gray wall at pedestrians’ eye level—at once a testament to the country’s rocky present and a message of hope for its future. “Afghanistan is famous for politics and war,” says Shamsia Hassani, the Afghani street artist who created the mural.“But there are people here who are hopeful for a better future, who are working to help their country.”