New York’s Richard Taittinger Gallery brings Maria Qamar’s feminist pop artwork to India

Sarika Sharma

HER works are unmistakably Indian. Her heroines sport bindis and tikkas. They cope with desi dilemmas. They love desi lingo. They curse in desi too. Half Indian, half Bangladeshi, Maria Qamar’s desi pop artwork first took Instagram by storm after which, precisely a 12 months in the past, she broke into the New York artwork world along with her first US solo exhibition, Fraaaandship!, at Richard Taittinger Gallery. Her works now come to India, courtesy Richard Taittinger Gallery and Tao Art Gallery in Mumbai, that are showcasing her new present, just about.

Raised in Canada, Qamar was 9 when the dual towers have been ripped aside in America. As a younger woman in a post-9/11 world, she needed to endure bullying and racism. She later recalled, “I started going home and drawing comics about these experiences.” Qamar discovered her inventive voice 5 years in the past by way of Instagram below the identify @Hatecopy the place her illustrations resonated with the desi neighborhood, notably the second era.

Works from Qamar’s newest exhibition, Me, Meraself and I.

The new present, Me Meraself and I, expresses the despair and loneliness of prolonged solitude, courtesy Covid-19. “Me Meraself and I was an exhibition created in isolation, much like my previous works. The exception now is that, with the global pandemic and the rise of social awareness towards racial injustice, the effects on our collective mental health are more prevalent. This has made me more aware of my personal traumas, and what it means to be truly alone,” she says.

In the exhibition, Qamar engages with methods through which we turned to social media and expertise to achieve out and to manage. Works akin to Naach and Then You Broke Up with Me on Zoom communicate of the house digital apps have been occupying in our lives. Theek Thaak, a play on Tik Tok, factors to the restricted capability of digital apps.

Qamar’s first exhibition at Richard Tattitinger was about South Asian millennials overseas. We ask her if she is an extension of the identical, whereas taking a feminist view, and Qamar returns: “A feminist lens is the only lens I know to look through. My work has always been and will continue to be about female empowerment.”

Straight out of comedian books, the works are interspersed with Hinglish idioms. How does a western viewers reply to that, we surprise, however Qamar says the work is primarily made for a South Asian viewers. “Many desi viewers have found the work very relatable. The reception in a broader sense has been positive overall as it invites even non-South Asian audiences to learn about our culture and language. We often have viewers Googling terms they don’t know and it is great to see people engage with the language and themes of the work.”

However, a spokesperson for Richard Taittinger Gallery’s gallery says that whereas many viewers in New York City don’t communicate these languages, her works are very relatable and have been very properly acquired by viewers and collectors from completely different backgrounds. “It has been incredibly rewarding to have visitors who see themselves reflected in the work, and who have commented about how satisfying it has been to see their culture represented on gallery walls.”

In the final couple of years, Qamar has taken her works to Europe (December 2019), painted murals on restaurant partitions, designed cutlery, written a ebook (Trust No Aunty) — all pop-hued, all for what she calls a naya zamaana…

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