This year’s Global Artist of Distinction has traveled from Kabul, Afghanistan, to take part in ArtWalk. Shamsia Hassani is best-known as a street and digital graffiti artist whose murals decorate the damaged streets and abandoned buildings in her hometown, bringing beauty and hope to a war-ravaged community. The women she portrays are simply delightful to behold: colorful, a bit dreamy, holding musical instruments and wearing vividly patterned head scarves, sometimes surrounded by bits of poetic expressions (in Dari, a variety of Persian spoken in Afghanistan). On her website she describes these characters as “Afghan women in a male-dominated society” who are “proud, loud and can bring positive changes to people’s lives.” In this way, she hopes to encourage and inspire women artists, and give all women a voice in society.

Born in Tehran in 1988 to Afghan parents who left Afghanistan for Iran during the war years, Hassani returned to Kabul in 2005 to attend university. Now a fine-art lecturer at Kabul University, her works have been shown all around the world, and last year she completed a residence at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles (bringing her to the attention of ArtWalk organizers). An advocate for the arts and women’s rights, Hassani is a co-founder of the Berang Arts Organization and the contemporary art collective Rosht.

The work of Shamsia Hassani will be on display through Oct. 31 at Vita Art Center, 432 N. Ventura Ave., Ventura. For more information, call 644-9214 or visit