Today, Google Doodle commemorates the 86th birthday of Zarina Hashmi, an Indian-American artist and printmaker renowned for her contributions to the minimalist style.
Zarina, known for her sculptures, prints, and drawings, embraced abstract and geometric forms within the context of the Minimalist movement, aiming to evoke a spiritual response in viewers.
Born in 1937 in the small Indian town of Aligarh, Zarina Hashmi enjoyed a happy life with her four siblings until the partition forced her family and millions of others to relocate to Karachi in the newly formed Pakistan.
At the age of 21, Zarina married a young diplomat and embarked on a global journey. Her travels took her to Bangkok, Paris, and Japan, where she encountered printmaking, as well as modernist and abstract art movements.
In 1977, Zarina settled in New York City and became a strong advocate for women and female artists of colour. She joined the Heresies Collective, a feminist journal exploring the intersection of politics, art, and social justice.
Later, Zarina became a professor at the New York Feminist Art Institute, which provided equal educational opportunities for female artists.
In 1980, she co-curated an exhibition at A.I.R. Gallery titled “Dialectics of Isolation: An Exhibition of Third World Women Artists of the United States.”
Zarina Hashmi’s art
Zarina gained recognition for her striking intaglio and woodcut prints, which featured semi-abstract depictions of houses and cities she had resided in.
Her art was influenced by her identity as an Indian woman born into a Muslim family, as well as her nomadic childhood. Notably, she incorporated elements of regular geometry from Islamic religious decorations into her work.
Zarina’s early pieces, characterized by an understated and abstract geometric aesthetic, have drawn comparisons to the works of minimalists like Sol LeWitt.
Her artwork continues to captivate audiences worldwide, with permanent collections at esteemed galleries such as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
On April 25, 2020, Zarina passed away in London due to complications from Alzheimer’s disease. Her legacy lives on through her remarkable artistic contributions.