Today’s Doodle celebrates Indian American artist and printmaker Zarina Hashmi, who is widely recognized as one of the most significant artists associated with the minimalist movement. Illustrated by New York-based guest artist Tara Anand, the artwork captures Hashmi’s use of minimalist abstract and geometric shapes to explore concepts of home, displacement, borders, and memory.
Hashmi was born on this day in 1937 in Aligarh and was one of five siblings. Her father worked at Aligarh Muslim University — his academic life played an important part in the development of her interests and desire to pursue their higher education.
At 21, Hashmi married a young foreign service diplomat and began traveling the world. She spent time in Aligarh, Bangkok, New Delhi, Paris, Bonn, Tokyo, Los Angeles, Santa Cruz, New York and London, where she became immersed in printmaking and art movements like modernism and abstraction.
Hashmi moved to New York City in 1976 and became a strong advocate for women and artists of color. She soon joined the Heresies Collective, a feminist publication that explored the intersection of art, politics, and social justice.
She went on to teach at the New York Feminist Art Institute, which provided equal education opportunities for female artists. In 1980, her work was put on exhibition at A.I.R. Gallery called “Dialectics of Isolation: An Exhibition of Third World Women Artists of the United States.” This groundbreaking exhibition showcased work from diverse artists and provided a space for female artists of color.
A part of the Minimalism Art movement, Hashmi became internationally known for her striking woodcuts and intaglio prints that combine semi-abstract images of houses and cities where she had lived. Her work often contained inscriptions in her native Urdu, and geometric elements inspired by the Islamic art.
People all over the world continue to contemplate Hashmi’s art in permanent collections at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, among other distinguished galleries.
Happy Birthday, Zarina!
Early Doodle Drafts
Guest Artist Q&A with Tara Anand
Today’s Doodle was illustrated by New York-based guest artist Tara Anand. Below, she shares her thoughts behind the making of this Doodle:
Q. Why was this topic meaningful to you personally?
A: I studied Zarina's work in college and was lucky enough to see her work in person at the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad museum in Mumbai. She is such an important and influential figure in Indian modern art history and yet always intrigued me in the way she resisted categorisation: as an Indian artist, as a sculptor, draftsperson or thinker. To me, her work feels focused on truthfully documenting an individual’s experiences and ideas with integrity.
Q. What were your first thoughts when you were approached about working on this Doodle?
A: Zarina is not the first artist you think of when trying to list artists from the subcontinent and so I was pleasantly surprised and was also honoured to be able to play a role in honouring her legacy.
Q. Did you draw inspiration from anything in particular for this Doodle?
A: I wanted to pay tribute to Zarina's work. The limited colours, the tactile paper feel and the forms all draw directly from her body of work.
Q. What message do you hope people take away from your Doodle?
A: I hope that it sparks an interest in Zarina's work!