Today, Google Doodle is honoring the birthday of Zarina Hashmi, a highly influential Indian American artist who would have turned 86 today. The doodle, created by guest illustrator Tara Anand from New York, pays tribute to Hashmi’s unique artistic style by incorporating her iconic geometric and minimalist abstract shapes.
According to media reports, Hashmi was renowned for her exceptional sculptures, prints, and drawings. Her artwork, which aligned with the Minimalist movement, skillfully utilized abstract and geometric forms to evoke a profound spiritual experience within viewers.
Zarina Hashmi was born in 1937 in the small Indian town of Aligarh. She had a contented childhood alongside her four siblings until the partition of India occurred, a tragic event that forced Zarina, her family, and countless others to relocate to Karachi in the newly established Pakistan.
At 21 years old, Zarina Hashmi entered into marriage with a young diplomat, setting off on a remarkable journey that spanned the globe. Her travels to destinations such as Bangkok, Paris, and Japan provided her with invaluable opportunities to delve into the realms of printmaking and immerse herself in the inspirations of modernist and abstract art movements.
In 1977, Zarina Hashmi made a significant move to New York City, where she emerged as a passionate advocate for women and female artists of color. She promptly became a member of the Heresies Collective, a feminist journal committed to investigating the confluence of politics, art, and social justice.
Following that, Hashmi assumed a professorial position at the New York Feminist Art Institute, an establishment dedicated to providing equal educational opportunities for women artists. In 1980, Hashmi engaged in a collaborative endeavor to curate a groundbreaking exhibition called “Dialectics of Isolation: An Exhibition of Third World Women Artists of the United States” at A.I.R. Gallery. This exhibition played a pivotal role in showcasing the artistic voices and perspectives of women artists from marginalized backgrounds.
Hashmi garnered significant acclaim for her mesmerizing intaglio and woodcut prints, masterfully incorporating semi-abstract representations of the houses and cities she had encountered throughout her life.
Her identity as an Indian woman, born into the Muslim faith, along with her experiences of constant movement during her formative years, greatly influenced her artistic expression. It is worth mentioning that Hashmi’s artwork frequently showcased visual elements influenced by Islamic religious adornments, distinguished by meticulous geometric patterns that possessed immense aesthetic allure.
Zarina Hashmi’s early artistic endeavors, celebrated for their abstract and delicately geometric aesthetics, have drawn parallels to esteemed minimalists such as Sol LeWitt.
Even today, her art continues to captivate viewers worldwide, evident from its inclusion in permanent collections at esteemed institutions such as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and several other distinguished galleries.
These prestigious placements speak to the enduring appeal and significance of Hashmi’s artistic contributions.