This Viral Artwork Is Not Created By Afghan Artist Shamsia Hassani

BOOM found that the the viral image is altered from an original illustration by a Czech Republic advertising agency.

An image of an artwork showing a woman stand out without a headgear and a book in her hand among several women in burkhas is being shared on social media with false claims that it is an artwork by Afghan graffiti artist Shamsia Hassani.

BOOM found that the viral image is an illustration created by an advertising agency from Czech Republic and the cover of the book in the hand of the woman has been edited.

The image has been shared in the backdrop of the takeover and subsequent government formation by the Taliban in Afghanistan. According to reports, the county's female football team fled to Pakistan after a senior Taliban official said it was "not necessary" for women to play. Disturbing images of the Taliban imposing rules on working women, barring their free movement have emerged on social media. Meanwhile, a section of Afghan women also took part in a rally in support of the Taliban.

The image has been shared on Twitter widely as Shamsia Hassani's work. A user tweeted it with a caption in English, "An incredible piece of art from Afghan artist, Shamsia Hassani. 33 years old, Afghan graffiti artist and teacher at Kabul University. If we share, we will be giving her a voice and all Afghan women who are living in hell of Islamic heaven."

The tweet is archived here.

The image was also tweeted by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor. He later tweeted a clarification stating that the image is by an advertisement agency; Tharoor however retained his previous tweet.

The same photo is viral on Facebook with a caption in Bangla. See two such posts here and here.

(Original text in Bangla: "কাবুল বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়ের অধ্যাপিকা এবং আফগানিস্তানের সুপরিচিত গ্রাফিতি শিল্পী শামসিয়া হাসানির আঁকা ছবি।")

Also Read: Movie Scene Falsely Shared As Taliban Torturing Panjshir Locals

Fact Check

BOOM ran a reverse search on the photograph and found that the viral image is not an artwork by Afghan graffiti artist Shamsia Hassani. Hassani tweeted about the same and also posted on her Instagram profile.

"Recently I noticed that hundreds of social media users shared this image as my artwork on their profiles/ pages, but this is not my artwork. I know that they wanted to support me and my art but please make sure to give the credit to the real artist," Shamsia Hassani tweeted.


The original image was created by an advertising agency Young and Rubicum (Y&R) of Czech Republic for a magazine named Reporter. Several websites which cater to news on advertising campaigns credited the artwork to Y&R. See two reports here and here.

The campaign featuring the same image, titled 'Changing Your Perspective' and 'Questioning Radicalism' by Reporter Magazine also won a Bronze at the Cilio Awards in 2018. The original image shows the woman without headgear holding a Reporter Magazine and not a red book as shown in the viral photograph.

In 2018 Y&R merged with another advertising agency Valentine McCormick Ligibel (VML) and became VMLY&R.

BOOM reached out to Tomas Dvorak, the then executive managing director and agency producer for Y&R Prague, who said, "The artwork has been done by us. The mentioned image did not have anything in common with our work and we did not give the rights to alter the image in any way."

A comparison of the real and altered viral image is given below.

Updated On: 2021-09-17T09:58:07+05:30
Claim Review :   Image shows artwork by Afghan artist Shamsia Hassani of a woman who refused to wear burqa
Claimed By :  Facebook Posts & Twitter Users
Fact Check :  False
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