Zarina (artist)

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Born1937 (age 81–82)
EducationAtelier 17

Zarina Hashmi (born 1937), known professionally by her first name only, is an Indian artist living and working in the USA. Her work spans drawing, printmaking, and sculpture. Associated with the Minimalist movement, her work utilizes abstract and geometric forms in order to invoke a spiritual reaction from the viewer.[1]

Born in Aligarh, India, she earned a degree in mathematics before studying a variety of printmaking methods in Thailand, France (where she was apprenticed to Stanley William Hayter),[2] and printmaker Toshi Yoshido in Tokyo, Japan. [3] She has lived and worked in New York City since the 1970s.

During the 1980s, Zarina served as a board member of the New York Feminist Art Institute and an instructor of papermaking workshops at the affiliated Women's Center for Learning. While on the editorial board of the feminist art journal Heresies, she contributed to the "Third World Women" issue.[4]

Artistic style[edit]

Zarina's art is informed by her identity as a Muslim-born Indian Woman, as well as a lifetime spent traveling from place to place.[5] She uses visual elements from Islamic religious decoration, especially the regular geometry commonly found in Islamic architecture. The abstract and spare geometric style of her early works has been compared to Minimalists such as Sol LeWitt.[5]

Zarina's work explores the concept of home as a fluid, abstract space that transcends physicality or location. Her work often features symbols that call to mind such ideas as movement, diaspora, exile. For example, woodblock print Paper Like Skin depicts a thin black line meandering upward across a white background, dividing the page from the bottom right corner to the top left corner. The line possesses a cartographic quality that, in its winding and angular division of the page, suggests a border between two places, or perhaps a topographical chart of a journey that is yet unfinished.

Major exhibitions[edit]

Zarina was one of four artists/artist-groups to represent India in its first entry at the Venice Biennale in 2011.[6]

The Hammer Museum in Los Angeles organized the first retrospective of her work in 2012.[7] Entitled Zarina: Paper Like Skin, the exhibition traveled to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the Art Institute of Chicago.[8]

Zarina was the 2017 - 2018 Artist-in-Residence at the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU. The residency culminated in a solo exhibition, Zarina: Dark Roads(6 October 2017 – 2 February 2018) and a publication, Directions to My House (by Zarina Hashmi with Sarah Burney).

Other Exhibitions:

  • Kunika Art Gallery, New Delhi, 1968
  • Malvina Miller Gallery, San Francisco, 1975
  • Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Ithaca, New York, 1981
  • "House with Four Walls," Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York, 1992
  • "Maps, Homes, and Itineraries," Gallery Lux, San Francisco, 2003
  • "Weaving Darkness and Silence", Gallery Espace, New Delhi, 2018 [9]

Examples of her work are in the permanent art collections of the Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Victoria and Albert Museum, and Bibliothèque Nationale de France.[7]


  1. ^ "Zarina: Paper Like Skin". Art Institute of Chicago. Retrieved 1 February 2014.
  2. ^ Ollman, Leah. "Zarina Hashmi". Art in America. Retrieved 14 March 2014.
  3. ^ "Artist Bio: Zarina Hashmi". Gallery Espace. Retrieved 23 November 2016.
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b Butler, Cornelia (2007). Wack! Art and the Feminist Revolution. MIT Press. p. 320.
  6. ^ "Pavilion of India". La Biennale. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  7. ^ a b "Zarina: Paper Like Skin". Hammer Museum. Retrieved 14 March 2014.
  8. ^ "Artist Bio: Zarina Hashmi". Luhring Augustine. Retrieved 14 March 2014.
  9. ^ Khurana, Chanpreet. "The artist of ideas: 81-year-old Zarina Hashmi's new show revisits the themes of her life and work". Retrieved 15 March 2019.

External links[edit]