Zarina Hashmi’s characteristic ability to distil emotion down to its most essential and expressive forms, builds her personal vocabulary into a political statement. Born in Aligarh in 1937, much of her works are marked by the aftermath of Partition and the experience of exile. Having travelled the world and lived in many different cities, Hashmi began to incorporate maps in her works, which expanded to include the topographical details of cities whose histories have been torn due to political conflicts—Aligarh, New Delhi, New York, Baghdad, Kabul. Through a few lines, abstracted geometry, essential colours and evoking a language slowly dying: Urdu; she uses individual expression to capture collective experience.
Her preoccupation with architecture is a grasp of memory, isolation and nostalgia. Within these lines and colours, she reassembles her visions of her house in Aligarh and her childhood that was enriched with words and language. Rotation, Repetition, Mirroring, Layering and Weaving, forms the poetics of her attempted perfection of geometry in which is contained her internalised narratives of experience, of memory and of feeling.
Zarina has had a long career in which her work has been exhibited at Gallery Espace, New Delhi; Galerie Jaeger Bucher, Paris; Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, Mills College Museum, Oakland, California; Alana Gallery, Oslo and in many other galleries all over the world. Her first retrospective exhibition was held in 2012 at The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles and then travelled to Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York and the Art Institute of Chicago.
She was one of the represented artists in the 54th International Art Exhibition, Venice Biennale . Zarina’s work has been published in numerous books and catalogues including Expansion-Resonance published by Galerie Jaeger Bucher, Paris ; Zarina: Weaving Memory by Bodhi Art, Mumbai ; Counting 1977-2005 published by Bose Pacia, New York .
Zarina is the recipient of several awards like the Residency Award at the New York University’s Asian/Pacific/American Institute and Artist in Residence at the University of Richmond, both in 2017. She also received the President’s Award for Printmaking, India in 1969. She has taught in several universities like the New York Feminist Art Institute, Cornel University and New York University.
The artist lives and works in New York.