As of 2015, there are 41 million foreign-born individuals living in the United States, of which the majority are from Latin America and Asia, with a small number arriving from Europe and Africa. Diasporas are more and more commonplace, with more people never feeling 100 percent connected to the place they live or the culture they come from. Toronto’s Maria Qamar, a daughter of Pakistani immigrants, has taken on the challenge of capturing the whimsical yet utterly real nuances of South Asian diasporic life in her hilarious Lichtenstein-inspired pieces.
The Instagram art of Hatecopy has resonated with women of color around the world who grew up in a diaspora. Hatecopy’s feed is like an Indian soap opera in pop-art form, complete with familiar characters: meddling aunties, forbidden (white) boyfriends, and arch-nemeses who put salt in your chai. But the content is witty, smart, and most importantly explores the broader issues of self-acceptance and identity as a person of color (POC). She loves the engagement she gets from her followers because it allows them to feel a sense of belonging they were normally denied before.
MQ: Most of the people who appreciate the work are affected by diaspora culture, and they’re actively seeking representation of people with their own skin color. They’re the same people looking at JusReign or Superwoman videos, or watching Aziz Ansari and Mindy Kaling… People who respond to my work are engaging in that culture more and more, and making other Desis feel comfortable about being Desi in places that, not too long ago, didn’t allow you to be that.
Check out the full interview here!