What happened: Art theft in Pakistan is more common than we realise. In recent news, a visual artist from Iran, based in Lahore spoke out about how her work was blatantly plagiarised. Maryam Baniasadi’ alleged that the miniature painting series she started while studying at the National College of Art in 2015, were copied by her classmate. 6 years later after seeing a painfully similar post of her printmaking studio miniature painting she decided to speak up. She claims that he did it because he “had a vision that this girl from Iran will be leaving Lahore soon and will disappear from the art scene in Pakistan”. Baniasadi however has remained in Pakistan and concluded that she has been hesitant to share her paintings because of the person. Moreover, her inactivity in sharing has led to the artist being accused of not sharing or working hard enough. The artist highlights the inherent sexism and nepotism within the industry. According to her, having connections with galleries and senior artists matters more compared to actual merit, they will protect and defend those who are in the wrong rather than realises the systematic issue.
The response after the post: Since posting her story on Instagram many of her previous classmates have come to her defence highlighting how they witnessed the plagiarism. Furthermore, she shared responses from other artists that claim that he also stole their ideas. She also felt left down by the teachers at the institute. Baniadasi stated that the gaslighting and brushing off of her valid concerns was very demotivating. Therefore, she feels the institute needs to take responsibility for not recognising her sentiments and causing her long term anguish.
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