Google Doodle today celebrates 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 artistic style by featuring her signature geometric and minimalist abstract shapes.
Hashmi, renowned for her exceptional sculptures, prints, and drawings, crafted artwork that aligned with the Minimalist movement. Her skillful use of abstract and geometric forms aimed to evoke a deep spiritual experience in the viewer.
Born in 1937 in Aligarh, a small town in India, Zarina Hashmi enjoyed a happy childhood with her four siblings until the partition of India occurred. This tragic event forced her family, including Zarina, to move to Karachi, Pakistan.
Hashmi, at the young age of 21, got married to a diplomat and began a journey that led her to various parts of the world. She visited places like Bangkok, Paris, and Japan, where she discovered her passion for printmaking and became deeply involved in modernist and abstract art movements.
In 1977, Zarina Hashmi made a big decision and moved to New York City. There, she became an enthusiastic supporter of women and female artists of color. She wasted no time and joined the Heresies Collective, a feminist journal that focused on exploring the intersection of politics, art, and social justice.
Hashmi also held a teaching position at the New York Feminist Art Institute, an institution committed to providing equal educational opportunities for women artists. Back in 1980, she helped organize an exhibition called “Dialectics of Isolation: An Exhibition of Third World Women Artists of the United States” at A.I.R. Gallery. This exhibition was really important because it gave a platform to women artists from marginalized backgrounds, letting their artistic voices and perspectives be heard.
Her captivating intaglio and woodcut prints, which skillfully incorporated semi-abstract depictions of the houses and cities she had lived in, earned Hashmi significant recognition. Her Indian identity, being born into the Muslim faith, and her experiences of constant movement during her formative years greatly influenced her artistic expression. Notably, her artwork often featured visual elements inspired by Islamic religious decorations, characterized by precise geometrical patterns that held immense aesthetic appeal.
Zarina Hashmi’s early artistic works, with their abstract and subtly geometric aesthetics, have been compared to renowned minimalists like Sol LeWitt. The mesmerizing art created by her continues to amaze people all around the world. It has been recognized and permanently displayed in renowned institutions like the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and other prestigious galleries.