The Dark House 2016 Collage with crushed Indian handmade paper stained with Sumi ink on printed black paper 11 × 26 in 27.9 × 66 cm
Zarina Hashmi prefers to be known only by her first name. Born in 1937 in Aligarh, she attained a B.Sc. (Honours) degree in Mathematics and Statistics from Aligarh Muslim University, following which she travelled around the world, accompanying her husband on diplomatic missions. Her travels afforded her the opportunity to learn the art of printmaking under internationally renowned mentors like Stanley William Hayter at Atelier 17 in Paris. She also studied woodblock printing under master printmaker Toshi Yoshido in Tokyo. Zarina works primarily with handmade paper, exploiting the organic quality of the medium. Paper like skin (also the name of one of her exhibitions) breathes, ages, can be stained, pierced and moulded and Zarina makes full use of these properties by pinching, folding and perforating the paper she works with. She also moulds paper pulp into surprisingly light sculptures influenced by nature and Islamic architecture. Her prints are made using wood blocks that she carves herself. Her prints are monochromatic, incorporating geometric abstract patterns, maps, floor plans and Urdu captions and poetry. These elements all form components of her search for home and exploration of themes of displacement and documentation. As she approaches the end of her spiritual journey, her focus has shifted to her ultimate destination as embodied in the concept of divine light or noor. This has found shape through the use of gold foil, obsidian, Sumi ink, tasbih or prayer beads and white marble in sculptural installations like Frozen Light.
Zarina has had a long career in which her work has been exhibited at Gallery Espace; Triveni Kala Sangam, New Delhi; Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai; Chemould Gallery, Mumbai; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Galerie Jaeger Bucher, Paris; Chawkandi Gallery, Karachi; Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York; Mills College Museum, Oakland, California; Alana Gallery, Oslo, Norway; and in many other galleries all around the world. Chicago art institute, Guggenheim.
Zarina's work has been published in numerous books and catalogues including Expansion - Resonance, published by Galerie Jaeger Bucher, Paris, 2008; Zarina - Weaving Memory, published by Bodhi Art, Mumbai, 2007 and Zarina - Counting 1977-2005, published by Bose Pacia, New York, 2005.
Zarina is the recipient of several awards like the Residency award at the Art-Omi, Omi, New York (1994); Residency Award at the Women's Studio Workshop, Rosendale, New York (1991) and the President's Award for Printmaking, India (1969). She has taught at the New York Feminist Art Institute, Bennington College, Bennington, Vermont, Cornell University, University of California at Santa Cruz and New York University, New York.