July 20, 2018

POSTED BY

Chandni Poddar

CATEGORY

A Brown Girl’s Guide

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Body positivity and my “rebellious” attitude is something that I used to really struggle with when I used to live in India. Everyone is supposed to look a certain way and act in a way that was acceptable to “society.” We had to dress, talk, behave, and just BE the …

new york branding sports graphic design agency

Body positivity and my “rebellious” attitude is something that I used to really struggle with when I used to live in India. Everyone is supposed to look a certain way and act in a way that was acceptable to “society.” We had to dress, talk, behave, and just BE the way other people wanted us to be. I was told that I would never get married unless I was thin, fair and knew how to cook – all of which I am not.

Maria Qamara, a.k.a. Hatecopy is a Pakistani-Canadian illustrator who draws comic strip/pop art type illustrations with a South Asian twist. Her work is a parody of the common characteristics of South Asian culture like same-sex couples, cross-cultural marriages, and cultural appropriation. She combines Roy Lichtenstein-style comic drawings with melodramatic South Asian soap operas characters – especially aunties.

Maria also published a book called Trust No Aunty is a brown girl’s guide to deal with meddlesome aunties.

The “aunty” figure in the South Asian culture usually refers to a middle-aged woman who meddles with the business of her neighbors, friends or family’s children. The typical aunty is someone you avoid at weddings and family gatherings because if you do run into her, be prepared for some nasty comments and harsh judgments.

Through her work, Qamar strives to create a space for South Asian women in the diaspora that is all their own: “It’s a conversation between us, and everybody else that’s interested is simply leaning in and overhearing the conversation.”

– Maria Qamar in an interview for Flare

Follow her on Instagram and have a look at some of her favorite illustrations that she shared with Flare below!

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Rainbow death stare

“I really love this one because it reminds me of when I walk into a wedding or party and there are aunties sitting around dressed beautifully in pretty colours and they all look amazing. As soon as you walk in all of their heads turn to look at you at the same time, and you feel like, oh shit, I’ve done something wrong.”

– Maria Qamar in an interview for Flare

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Straight as a jalebi baby

“This one is my favourite. I’ve been questioned about it a lot, which I think is interesting. People will say, ‘Oh, this is controversial.’ I’m like, how the hell how is it controversial? This is a lifestyle for a large, large group of people. The fact that you think it’s controversial is your problem.”

– Maria Qamar in an interview for Flare

Jalebi is a pretzel-shaped sweet.

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Your daughter is getting moti

“Somebody actually said that to me at a fam jam. I was eating and I was going for seconds, and she was like, ‘Ah, you’re getting a little moti* your arms, eh?” And I was like, ‘Huh, glad you noticed. That’s the look I was going for.’ And then I took seconds and thirds, I kept eating beside her — I wasn’t even hungry at that point, I was just like, ‘Yeah, you see that?’”

– Maria Qamar in an interview for Flare

*fat

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All Images © 2018 Maria Qamara

Our daughter is an artist

“That one had a lot of meaning for me because that’s the first piece that I did with Babbu[a frequent collaborator]. Her and I have been best friends since then, so that’s significant for me because that was the start of the exhibits, all the shows. A lot beautiful things that came out of that friendship and out of that partnership. Also, [this was] one of the pieces that Mindy [Kaling] bought.”

– Maria Qamar in an interview for Flare