Instagram sensation Hatecopy uses art to explore her South-Asian and Canadian culture

Artist Maria Qamar satirizes her culture while bringing people together through her unique brand of pop art.
Artist Maria Qamar, a.k.a. Hatecopy, uses Instagram to share her unique brand of pop art. (Ali Reza Malik)

"Roy Lichtenstein's version was, 'I'd rather drown than call Brad.' The Hatecopy version of that would be, 'I burnt the rotis. Kill me now,'" says artist Maria Qamar, who is better know as Hatecopy by her social media followers. Qamar has become an Instagram sensation, winning the approval of celebrities like Mindy Kaling for her unique pop art, which explores her South-Asian and Canadian cultures.

Maria Qamar is also known as Hatecopy, a pop artist that pokes fun at her South Asian culture (Maria Qamar)

Qamar emigrated from Pakistan to Canada when she was just a child. After the 9/11 attacks, she says, "I would hear these terms like 'Paki' being thrown around." Kids would avoid her at school and the bullying began. "Then what happens is that you start stripping your culture little by little," explains Qamar, because you want to avoid being targeted. 

Eventually, she noticed that her culture was becoming trendy and cool. Qamar says, "you're raised hearing all these things like who you are is wrong and what you eat is disgusting," become, "girls all of a sudden wearing bindis at Coachella." That's when she decided to use this moment as an opportunity to explore her heritage and what it means to be Indian when you are assimilated in Western culture.

Qamar shares her art on social media, bringing people together through comedic depictions of scenarios common to the South-Asian experience. Before sharing her art online, Qamar felt she was alone, "my whole life, I thought I was the only person going through this."

Whether people relate to her art or not, Qamar is focused on growing her skills and starting conversations. "I want people to notice that progression and follow along the journey with me," she says.

To see more of Maria Qamar's work, check out the Hatecopy Instagram.

WEB EXTRA | Watch Maria Qamar discuss overcoming negativity through art in this video by CBC Arts.

The "There's no curry allowed in the dorm room!" image was created for an episode of CBC's Campus. Check out that episode here.