Zarina Hashmi

Zarina Hashmi was an Indian-born, American artist. Her work spans drawing, printmaking, and sculpture.  Her art is informed by her identity as an Indian woman and having been born a Muslim. Her work evokes and explores the idea of home, distances, and trajectories, influenced by her own extensive travels. She used visual elements from Islamic religious decoration, especially the regular geometry commonly found in Islamic architecture. Her abstract and spare geometric style of her early works have been compared to Minimalists such as Sol LeWitt.

Born in Aligarh, India in 1937, she earned a degree in mathematics before studying a variety of printmaking methods in Thailand, France (where she was apprenticed to Stanley William Hayter), and printmaker Toshi Yoshido in Tokyo, Japan.

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.

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

The Hammer Museum in Los Angeles organized the first retrospective of her work in 2012. Entitled Zarina: Paper Like Skin, the exhibition travelled to the Guggenheim Museum and the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work has also been shown at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Kunika Art Gallery, New Delhi; CSMVS Museum, Mumbai; Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York and Gallery Lux, San Francisco.

In 2020, Zarina passed away in London.