Zarina Hashmi: A minimalist artist who explained the meaning of home
Zarina Hashmi, better known by her maiden name Zarina, was an Indian-American artist and printmaker who worked at home, displacement, Created minimal and abstract compositions that explore boundaries and themes of memory. Born in Aligarh, India in 1937, Zarina suffered the shock of partition of India and Pakistan in 1947, when her family had to flee to Karachi. He later married a diplomat and traveled extensively around the world, living in Bangkok, Paris, Tokyo and New York. His nomadic life influenced his artistic practice, as he used geometric shapes, maps, architectural forms, and Urdu calligraphy to express his sense of belonging and loss.
Zarina’s early life and education
Zarina was born into a Muslim family in Aligarh, a small town in northern India. He received a degree in mathematics from Aligarh Muslim University and developed an interest in architecture and geometry. He also learned Urdu, the language of his ancestors, which became an important element of his art. In 1958, she married Saad Hashmi, a young Foreign Service officer and began accompanying him on his posting abroad. It was the beginning of his lifelong journey as a global citizen and an artist.
Zarina’s artistic development and influence
Zarina’s artistic career began in the mid-1960s, when she lived in Paris and studied printmaking at Atelier 17 with Stanley William Hayter. There he learned various techniques such as woodcut, etching, lithography and intaglio. She was also acquainted with the modernist and abstract movements prevalent in Europe at the time. She was particularly attracted to the works of Pete Mondrian, Agnes Martin, Sol Leavitt and Carl Andre.
Zarina returned to India in 1968 and settled in Delhi for six years. He continued experimenting in printmaking and also started making paper sculptures. She was inspired by the traditional paper making techniques of India and Japan, as well as Islamic art and architecture that surrounded her. They used paper as a medium to create three-dimensional shapes such as houses, walls, doors, windows and grids. He also included Urdu poetry and text in his prints and sculptures, using words as visual symbols.
In 1974, Zarina moved to Tokyo for a year, where she worked with master printmaker Toshi Yoshida. He learned Japanese woodblock printing techniques called Ukio-E, which allowed him to create complex and delicate prints with many colors. He also experimented with gold leaf and handmade paper to create a shiny effect.
In 1975, Zarina immigrated to the United States and settled in New York City. She became part of the feminist art movement and A.I.R. Co-operated a historical exhibition titled “Dialectics of Isolation: An Exhibition of Third World Women Artists of the United States. Gallery in 1980. He also taught at various universities across the country and frequently traveled to India and Pakistan to meet his family and friends.
Zarina’s Key Content and Functions
Zarina’s work is characterized by its minimalist aesthetics, use of geometric forms, emphasis on linearity and repetition, and the discovery of personal and political issues. His work reflects his experience of migration, displacement, exile, and chronic memories. She often used maps as a design to reflect her changing sense of home and identity. He also used architectural elements such as doors, windows, walls, fences and grids as a symbol of boundaries, obstacles, openness and closing.
Some of Zarina’s major works include:
– Home is a foreign place (1999): a series of 36 woodcuts that include abstract images and Urdu words such as “door”, “sky”, “shadow”, “distance”, “memory” Reflects various aspects of the house through Adi. .
– Atlas of My World ( 2001): a series of five etching that shows maps of India before and after partition, Also shows maps of the places where Zarina lived or went.
– Blinding Light (2007): A series of gold leaf prints on handmade paper that depict abstract shapes inspired by Islamic geometry.
– Noor (2008 ): A series of woodcuts that show the various phases of the moon with the Urdu rectangles of the Quran.
– Letters from Home (2004): A series of 26 intaglio prints that show letters written in Urdu script by Zarina’s sister Queen.
– Dividing line (2001): A single woodcut that shows a thick black line cutting a white paper.
Zarina’s Legacy and identity
Zarina was one of the most influential artists associated with the Minimalist movement. She was one of the few female artists in India who received international recognition and acclaim. He exhibited his work in several solo and group shows around the world, including the Venice Biennale, Whitney Biennial, Guggenheim Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art and Tate Modern. She received several awards and honors, such as the President’s Award for Printmaking from the India Habitat Centre in 2003, the Asian Cultural Council Fellowship in 2004, and the Residency Award from the New York University’s Asian/Pacific/American Institute in 2007.
Zarina passed away in London on April 25, 2020, at the age of 83. She left behind a rich and diverse body of work that continues to inspire and challenge viewers. Her work is a testament to her vision, courage, and resilience as an artist and a human being.