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Breaking traditions, Afghani artist tells women not to fear

Ankita Chaturvedi /Dubai

Maria Iqbal, working as an independent painter in Dubai since the last five years, calls herself a pop artist, for her work is primarily inspired by pop culture. She lives in Dubai, alone, and is breaking all the stereotypes about Afghan women who are generally believed to be inexpressive. Iqbal works with an NGO to help and teach women in refugee camps where she motivates the women to start and sustain small businesses and work so that they can become independent.

“Recently, we went to the refugee camps at the Turkish-Syria border and Kurdistan in Iraq to support them in learning and doing small businesses, like for example, making pouches and other useful things. I feel every woman should be independent and this is a very small initiative to bring a change in their lives. We hope to take it to the next level soon,” said Maria.

“Currently I am very much affected with whatever is going on in the Middle East. I express ongoing issues through my paintings indirectly. Usually, I write a social message with a touch of humour to express my thoughts” she added.

With her work, she is not only breaking stereotypes about Afghani women but also looking at making a difference in the lives of women across nations.

She not just paints canvas; she paints on everything and anything – clothes, furniture, shoes. Her work is commission-based and is influenced by Japanese cartoons and also Bollywood, as she has been in India for some time for work. She thinks women in general, be it Afghani or any other nationality, live a dual life. They don’t show their true self in public without fearing for acceptance.

Never live your life in fear and dare to be different” is her message to women around the world.

Courtesy: Khaleej Times

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