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Afghan artists use graffiti to depict violence and injustice of women's lives

Mohammad Ismail / Reuters

A graffiti piece by Shamsia Hassani and Qasem Foushanji on a wall in Kabul, March 5, 2012.

Reuters reports from Kabul — Encased in a head-to-toe burqa, the image depicts a distraught woman slumped on a cement stairwell, the work of Afghanistan's first street artists who use graffiti to chronicle violence and oppression.

The female-male duo surreptitiously spray-paint the crumbling and dilapidated walls of buildings in the capital city, abandoned and destroyed during 30 years of war that still rages today.

Talking of her woman on the steps, Shamsia Hassani, 24, said: "She is wondering if she can get up, or if she will fall down. Women in Afghanistan need to be careful with every step they take."

Omar Sobhani / Reuters, file

Shamsia Hassani signs one of her works in Kabul on Dec. 19, 2010. A group of women in burqas rises from the sea to symbolise cleanliness, while further down the factory wall a bus with no wheels and crammed with passengers is a stark comment on war-torn Kabul's appalling public transport.

The somber depictions of Afghan women on Kabul's rutted streets offer rare public insight into their lives, still marred by violence and injustice despite progress in women's rights since the Taliban was toppled over a decade ago.

In an abandoned textile factory, Hassani spray-painted a wall with six willowy figures in sky-blue burqas, who rise out of the ground like ghosts.

"In three decades of war, women have had to carry the greatest burdens on their shoulders," Hassani, who also works in the faculty of fine arts at Kabul University, told Reuters. Read the full story.