Weaving Darkness and Silence by Zarina
Title: ZARINA: Weaving Darkness and Silence
1) “A Room of One’s Own” by Sadia Shirazi
The works in Weaving Darkness and Silence are at a scale that Zarina often works in. A scale that allows her to work independently, the scale of one person. “Working on a small scale has its own intensity—the image has no place to go,” the artist writes, “It can only pull you into the depth of darkness from where it is impossible to escape.” To begin to understand this aspect of Zarina’s work one has to conjure the spaces in which the artist has lived and worked. Laila Tyabji recalls Sunday lunch at Zarina’s barsati in Jangpura and the incongruous printing press hulking in the middle of the small room, over which Zarina would lay a tablecloth and set incredible meals. It was in this barsati that Zarina first found a room of her own, a solitary space in which to live and make work. The Delhi barsati’s of the 1970s were simple, affordable, one room enclosures with large terraces. These rooftop spaces in Nizamuddin East and Jangpura were populated by artists—M.F. Husain, Tyeb Mehta, V.S. Gaitonde, Nasreen Mohamedi—a community in walking distance of one another well before they achieved meteoric fame. Zarina was one of the very few women amongst them. Zarina’s artistic practice expanded after her marriage and departure from Aligarh in 1958, during sojourns abroad when she lived in Bangkok, Paris, and Bonn with her husband, a diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service. While living in Paris in the mid-1960s Zarina studied with Stanley William Hayter at Atelier 17, and was one of many Indian artists living and working there at the time. Upon her return to India in 1968, Zarina moved to Jangpura and lived there, alone, for six years. She left Delhi for Tokyo in 1974 where she worked with Toshi Yoshido at his studio, and immigrated to the United States the following year.