Me Meraself and I: Maria Qamar Explores the Universal Feelings of Tech Isolation
We may be desperate to get in some physical art viewing right now, just a solid day of wandering galleries and checking out some summer downtime of hustle and bustle, but artists are finding ways to keep their work and presentation special, as exemplified by Maria Qamar’s newest solo show, Me Meraself and I, just opened as a viewing room with Richard Taittinger Gallery in NYC. She may be one of those special artists who can really enliven online experiences memorable. The works are so bold and bright, acrylic and oil, applied with comic book-like narratives and visual aesthetic come that spring to life on even the smallest of screens. If this is the future, Qamar’s paintings deliver.
Me Meraself and I was conceived and completed as many projects have this year amidst the pandemic and shelter in place. The Canadian artist from Indian and Banghledeshi roots examines her South Asian history through the lens of comics and social media. The latter proves to be the central theme as she interprets how isolation and interpersonal relationships have been shaped as we navigate FaceTime friendships and social distance dating. One title in particular, Then You Broke Up with Me on Zoom, is truthfully funny, if it wasn’t happening to you!
You may already know Maria’s work: her IG handle @Hatecopy has gained international popularity, where her “illustrations resonated with the Desi community, particularly the second generation.” As her gallery notes, “Qamar’s Bollywood-beautiful women paintings with ironic cartoon speech bubbles speak to the trail and tribulations of 21st-century Desi life and the challenges of being a South Asian millennial.”
There is universality in the way Qamar balances East and West, a characteristic that speaks to a greater conversation of how 2020 should have played out around the world this year. The world is undergoing similar feelings and disillusionment, regardless of the personal cultural reference, as we all grapple with a pandemic and reawakening of social justice. Me Meraself and I contains many truths, in all its vivid aesthetics. —Evan Pricco