Maria Qamar employs pop art aesthetic as a clever, if ironic, means of discussing heavy loaded issues such as racism, body shaming, classism, and chauvinism. “Pop art is very fun in nature, but [my work] does talk about a lot of heavy things,” she relayed in an interview with Vice.
The Pakistan-born, Canadian-based artist and author is known for her satirical commentary on the hybridization of South Asian and Canadian cultures–what’s known as “Desi culture,” a term used to describe the cultures and products of the Indian subcontinent or South Asia and their diaspora.
Alongside her Pop Art, Qamar has also published a book titled Trust No Aunty–a sort of illustrated “survival guide” that aims at dealing with overbearing “Aunties,” (a term used to describe family members, annoying neighbors, or random women throwing black magic your way).
“The focus is on my community,” she stressed, adding that her art isn’t addressed to a white audience. “I’m talking to people like me, so we can talk about these issues in our community,” she explained. “When you do that and when enough people around you start doing that, you find that everyone else around you starts listening in. It puts the pressure on other folks to learn more about us, which is an added bonus, but the point of the work isn’t to appeal to anybody outside of who I’m speaking to.”