Erik B. Duckert article
“Shamsia expresses a beautiful naïveté”
Definition of naïveté
- of a person or action) showing a lack of experience, wisdom, or judgement.
- (of a person) natural and unaffected; innocent.
- of or denoting art produced in a style which deliberately rejects sophisticated artistic techniques and has a bold directness resembling a child’s work, typically in bright colours with little or no perspective.
At no point in the article does Shamsia appear naive nor do her paintings appear unsophisticated. She is aware of the danger, the harassment she faces and the bomb threats. In spite of this she paints – for happiness. Duckert seems caught up with the idea that she is young and female. Shamsia is not naive, she is brave.
“Shamsia vandalizes buildings scarred by war; western graffiti artists vandalize buildings scarred by nothing.
Maybe there’s a message in that?”
While western graffiti artists are not painting on war torn streets, they are not covering buildings scarred by nothing. Where is graffiti most prominent? In poverty-stricken areas. Those buildings are scarred by drug and alcohol abuse, poor education and lack of employment opportunities. The struggle is not over, and in this current economic climate the gap between rich and poor is widening. Equality, dignity, opportunity are worth fighting for.
Another article on a Female Afghanistan Graffiti Artists was featured on the BBC. She has had to leave Afghanistan due to Taliban threats and attacks. Her artwork is described as “a desperate act of defiance both against her family and the Taliban.”
“During my confinement at home I was overwhelmed with a lot of feelings. I realised there might be other girls facing the same problems as me. To paint at home would not have served any purpose. I wanted to send a message to the girls in my situation to have no fear and to express themselves in public.”
This is a recurring theme through all graffiti artists work, of being powerless and spreading a message. Making a mark and drawing attention to injustice. This is not always the overt motivations but is shown through the act of painting on a building owned by part of “society” that so often excludes those on the margins.
Suliman’s says “Key is a recurring theme of my art. It opens the doors to success as well as the mental block of people.”
Ms Suliman appears calm and peaceful, but beneath the surface is hidden a deep-seated worry, “I don’t know what my future holds. I am struggling to break free both from inside home and outside.”
Does graffiti open doors? I don’t know. It does open people’s eyes to the doors being locked.