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Zarina Hashmi: Exploring Identity and Home Through Art

Zarina Hashmi

The subject of today’s Doodle is Indian American printmaker Zarina Hashmi, who is hailed as one of the most important figures in the minimalist movement.


  • Zarina is recognized as one of the most significant artists associated with the minimalist movement.
  • Her early life in India, surrounded by academics and intellectuals, influenced her minimalist approach.
  • She moved to New York City in the 1970s, where she encountered diverse cultural viewpoints.
  • She incorporated maps into her art to represent human travels, migration, and the loss of ancestry.
  • Her works, often employing techniques like embossing and woodcut printing, captured global audiences.
  • Zarina’s art has been exhibited at prestigious institutions such as the Hammer Museum and MoMA.
  • Zarina’s artistic vision showcases the power of art to illuminate the human experience.

Famous Indian-American artist Zarina Hashmi, often known as Zarina, created works that were strongly influenced by ideas of displacement, memory, and belonging. She was born in Aligarh, India, in 1937. She travelled the globe while pursuing her art, leaving a lasting impression on the contemporary art landscape.

Lets explore the life story of Zarina Hashmi, her work, and the legacy of her aesthetic expression.

Early Life and Influences of Zarina Hashmi

The foundation for Zarina’s artistic exploration was formed throughout her formative years in India. She had a deep interest in architecture and design while growing up in a household of academics and intellectuals, which would later influence her minimalist approach.

Her passion with the idea of home was triggered by the calligraphic art and Islamic architectural features that were common in Aligarh.

Journey to the United States

In the 1970s, Zarina Hashmi relocated to New York City, where she discovered a vibrant artistic community that would influence and test her artistic practise. She encountered various cultural viewpoints while residing and working in a global setting, which deepened her understanding of identity, migration, and the concept of a “home away from home.”

Zarina Hashmi: Minimalism and Abstraction

Zarina Hasmi Paintings

Creadit: @architecturaldigest

Abstraction and minimalism are prominent features of Zarina’s work, which frequently features geometrical shapes, lines, and textures. Her work transcends national boundaries and addresses issues of loss, displacement, and the pursuit of belonging that are universal.

Zarina Hashmi inspires viewers to consider their own experiences of displacement and longing by distilling her art down to its essentials and evoking a mood of contemplation.

Memory and Mapping in Zarina Hasmi Paintings

The lexicon of Zarina’s art began to include maps. She represented human travels, both literal and figurative, using maps. She investigated the effects of migration, exile, and the loss of ancestry by modifying and altering them. The prints and sculptures of Zarina, which are rich with individual experiences and collective stories, deeply connect the viewer to the idea of “home.”

Paper and Materiality in Zarina Hashmi paintings

The materials Zarina Hashmi chooses are important to her artistic process. She frequently worked with paper, utilising it as a medium to depict memory’s transient nature, fragility, and impermanence. She incorporated methods like embossing and woodcut printing to give her compositions depth and texture, resulting in eye-catching works that captured audiences all over the world.

Exhibitions and Recognition

Zarina Hasmi Art work

Credit: @The Art Newspaper

The Hammer Museum in Los Angeles and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City are just two of the famous locations where Zarina’s work has been displayed. Numerous honours and prizes, including as the Guggenheim Fellowship and the National Medal of Arts from the United States, were given in recognition of her significant influence on the art world.


The creative legacy of Zarina Hashmi is in her ability to manage difficult topics of identity, migration, and memory in her spare works. Her provocative work continues to strike a chord with viewers, transcending divides and igniting discussion about the ideas of home and belonging. Zarina’s profound artistic vision is a tribute to how art can illuminate the human experience and comfort those who are looking for a place to belong in a rapidly evolving world.

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