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Artnet News – How Maria Qamar’s Feminist Desi Pop Art Went Viral on Instagram, Charmed Mindy Kaling, and Broke Into the New York Art World

By: Sarah Cascone

August 22, 2019

 

The title of artist Maria Qamar’s first solo show, “Fraaaandship,” comes from a popular pickup line among South Asian men. The Canadian-Pakistani artist—who has become an Instagram sensation for her feminist-tinged, Pop art-influenced riffs of Desi culture—had found herself commiserating and bonding with other women about how men overuse the proposal of “fraaandship” online as a euphemism for sex.

Today, Qamar has garnered enough attention—her Instagram account, @hatecopy (a reference to how much she disliked her first career, in advertising copy), has 182,000 followers—that she has someone else to screen messages for her. Fortunately, a direct message from New York dealer Richard Taittinger got through.

“When we discovered Maria’s work, we were wondering how to approach her,” Taittinger told artnet News. “Normally, as a gallery, there is a traditional way to start the discussion,” he said, but “guess what? The best way to reach out to her is to send her a message on Instagram! The galleries must go into the 21st century.”

Taittinger, whose gallery is five years old, hopes to attract a younger audience by showing social media-savvy artists like Qamar. “Galleries should not wait for people to come to us,” he said. “We should be more proactive in appealing to the new generation by using their language.

 

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