Phillips opens FIGHT BETI, FIGHT! An immersive exhibition of works by Maria Qamar

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Phillips opens FIGHT BETI, FIGHT! An immersive exhibition of works by Maria Qamar
Maria Qamar, JHOOT. Acrylic and ink on canvas, 135 x 1114 cm. Executed in 2019. © Image courtesy of the Artist.

PARIS.- Phillips announces FIGHT BETI, FIGHT! This selling exhibition of original artworks and dedicated merchandise by contemporary artist Maria Qamar comes together to create an immersive and interactive experience of the artist’s fight against the inequalities that women, especially of colour, still have to endure in society today. FIGHT BETI, FIGHT! is on public view in Phillips’ Paris galleries of 46 Rue du Bac from December 2 to 20, 2019.

This is the first solo show in Paris by the Canada-based Desi-Pop artist Maria Qamar. Her signature ironic comic style, reminiscent of Roy Lichtenstein and Marjorie Strider, is punctuated by defiant feminist messages that incorporate Hindi slang. It is a seductively humorous and defiant rebellion against women’s oppression through race and gender bias, enforced by societal and cultural norms from both the traditional and western perspective.

As much as the message is intended for everyone, it is also art for everyone. Maria Qamar takes her fight for equality quite literally into the art world, expanding her format beyond the works on canvas, to affordable merchandising that includes posters, phone cases, T-shirts, and even limited edition tote bags available only at Phillips. All emblazoned with signature slogans, they spread the words FIGHT BETI, FIGHT! Never give up.

It seems fitting that the artist’s first audience was on social media, through the Instagram handle @hatecopy which today counts 195k followers. Finding resonance among art critics such as Roberta Smith, the New York Times and Mindy Kaling who featured her work in The Mindy Project, Maria Qamar transitioned into the fine art world last summer with her New York show at Richard Taittinger. Remaining true to her interactive social media origins, the artist will be present, and visitors will be encouraged to post, under the hashtag #FIGHTBETIFIGHT or #FIGHTBETIFIGHTPARIS.

Maria Qamar, said: “I cannot wait to showcase FIGHT BETI FIGHT in Paris! I am equally excited about transforming the beautiful space that Phillips has into an environment that speaks about female equality and show the people of Paris some Hatecopy art!”

Clara Rivollet, International Specialist of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, said: “We are very proud to present for the first time in Europe a solo show by Maria Qamar. She twists the predominantly white male American Pop art movement’s aesthetics to convey a deeply personal feminist message with references to her South Asian culture. With a hint of rebellion and a strong sense of humour, she produces a bold imagery which transcends our physical world with her large online community. Through her work, she aims to fight against the inequalities which women face every day and promotes a message of tolerance, and Phillips is honoured to provide a platform from which Maria can extend her voice and vision to the people of Paris.”

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