By: Azzura Lalani
August 1, 2017
Posing for photos in her downtown apartment, surrounded by her artwork and a pile of yellow books at her feet, Maria Qamar seems effortlessly cool and collected. However, though she shot to popularity a couple of years ago through her Instagram account, Hatecopy, which has 101,000 followers, the 26-year-old Toronto artist is the first to admit her life wasn’t always like this. Her struggle to free herself from her family’s expectations and become an artist was what inspired her book, Trust No Aunty, a survival guide for Desi women, which comes out Tuesday.
“It reminds me of what my diary was like when I was a kid,” says first-time author Qamar, adding she used to get bullied a lot “for being darker than white” and instead of writing about it in a journal, she’d turn into comic panels. “The last panel of the comic would be me getting the last laugh or me getting my revenge so that the world I created for myself in my sketchbook was better than the reality I was facing.”
The colorful and witty read — which recounts traumatizing incidents like making her boyfriend hide in a closet to avoid her dad and the casually racist things said to her in the workplace — is meant to be relatable for women of a South Asian background.