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Pakistani artist on sculpting Cardi B’s pregnancy, facing backlash

Misha Japanwala was on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Asia List

SAMAA | - Posted: Jul 2, 2021 | Last Updated: 5 months ago
Posted: Jul 2, 2021 | Last Updated: 5 months ago

Collage: SAMAA Digital

Misha Japanwala, a Pakistani artist who sculpted US rapper Cardi B’s pregnancy, has opened up on how her art enables women to appreciate their bodies.

“My Pakistani identity is deeply weaved into anything I create,” Misha told VICE World News

“In South Asia, women’s bodies are seen in a certain cultural context, and it’s difficult for women to have agency over their own bodies.”

Last week, Misha made headlines after Cardi B donned her art to announce her second pregnancy. It was a white breastplate, an armour-like accessory, which cradled Cardi’s curves and accentuated her baby bump. The photo has crossed 13 million likes on Instagram.

“I’ve been trying to establish myself in the art and fashion scene for the last few years, but I think my work was noticed by Colin Carter, Cardi B’s stylist, because of Reva Bhatt, an Indian-American stylist who had assisted him before, and [who] wanted to give more opportunities to South Asian designers like me.”

But not everyone is pleased with or appreciates what has, according to Misha, enabled many women to embrace their bodies. She finds the backlash and hate “overwhelming” sometimes. 

“But I’ve realised that getting this kind of reaction only confirms that the work I’m doing and narrative I’m creating is especially important.” It only shows that people are threatened by women taking charge of their bodies, she added.

“I get comments and DMs daily that my work goes ‘against our culture’ or that ‘how dare I create such designs as a Muslim woman’.” 

Misha made it to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Asia List in April, 2021 and is known for her collaboration on a sculptural mask with model Gigi Hadid for V Magazine.

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