By: Dhruti Shah

November 3, 2015


Maria Qamar’s Instagram account is fast becoming a bookmark for young people from South Asian backgrounds, but what exactly is it about her pop art with a twist that’s now drawing the attention of mainstream brands?

Channeling the comic book style of Roy Lichtenstein, the 24-year-old Pakistani-Canadian has poured her energy into drawing what she knew – not realizing at first how her satirical take would strike a chord with other young people from the Indian diaspora.

And now, the sharp-witted self-proclaimed “stubborn” artist is bringing her experiences of the “desi world” and more specifically the tribe known as “the aunties” to the mainstream through her art.

The term desi derived from the Sanskrit word “desha”, meaning country or land, and is used to refer to those of South Asian heritage who live abroad – the diaspora.

“I’m taking what already exists [in our culture] and laughing about it like an inside joke,” Qamar says.

Her art featuring hyperbolic characters is so relatable for young people from similar backgrounds that fan comments such as “My life story” and “My mum, non-stop” are regularly left on her pages.

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