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Lot Details

Signed, titled, dated and numbered 'Zarina '99' (lower edge) each
Portfolio of 24 woodcuts with Urdu text printed in black
Edition 4 of 25

(Catalogue Note: The edition number is 4 of 25 and not 20 of 25 as mentioned in the print catalogue.)
(Lot Note: The portfolio is from a set of 36 woodcut prints titled 'Home is a Foreign Place')

The Guild Art Gallery, Mumbai
Private collection, Dubai

Zarina Hashmi, Home is a Foreign Place, The Guild Art Gallery, India, June to July 2005
Mind and Matter: Alternative Abstractions, 1940s to Now, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, May to August 2010

“I understood from a very early age that home is not necessarily a permanent place, it is an idea we carry with us wherever we go. We are our homes.”

Home is Foreign Place is more than just a woodblock prints on paper, to Zarina, it is her narrative of the house where she was born in, left in her early twenties never to return for decades until her recent visit to Aligarh. In 1975, Zarina moved to New York with the thought that one day she will go back home. But for over 4 decades, she stayed in New York and California simultaneously as there was nothing to go back to in Aligarh. This work, as the others, is an exploration of the universal nature of home and of the individual sense of place in the world. She did the piece for herself in order to understand how she got where she is from her place of origin. The co-existence of calligraphy and geometric symbols in her work is her way of lending personal presence to an otherwise abstract image. Instead of the plain images, Zarina inscribed texts in Urdu, giving clues to the viewers and allowing them to share her sensibility, and in a way, her sense of home. Through art, she was able to explore the metaphors of home and raise questions of meaning, stability, endurance, mobility and the ephemeral concept of the nature of home. The work very much reflects how she views home which was once familiar but no longer. Her nomadic lifestyle, moving from place to place, the memory of her once called home was engraved in her heart through her art, a place which she will carry with her always.

Home is a Foreign Place is a work meant to be read as a poem, an approach that is consistent with the often spoken importance of poetry in her art. “Beautifully penned, the poetry has an aesthetic beauty of its own. It is the words, the titles that Zarina has given to the works that conjure of magical other worlds in one’s mind evocating memories that lie buried in our psyche casting a spell of insight into the human condition.”

Zarina Hashmi

(1937 - 2020)
Born in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, in 1937, Zarina Hashmi received a Bachelor’s degree in Science with Honours from Aligarh Muslim University in 1958, before she turned to the study of print making in India and abroad. Between 1963 and 67 she studied printmaking with S.W. Hayter and Krishna Reddy at Atelier 17, Paris, and in 1974, studied woodblock printing at Toshi Yoshido’s studio in Tokyo on a Japan Foundation Fellowship. Her solo shows and retrospectives include ‘Zarina Paper Like Skin’ at the Chicago Art Institute, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, and the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, in 2012-13; ‘Noor’ at Galerie Jaeger Boucher, Paris, in 2011; ‘Recent Works’ and ‘Kagaz Ke Ghar’ at Gallery Espace, New Delhi, in 2011 and 2007 respectively; ‘The Ten Thousand Things’ at Luhring Augustine, New York, in 2009; ‘Weaving Memory 1990-2006’ at Bodhi Art, Mumbai, in 2007; ‘Silent Soliloquy’ at Bodhi Art, Singapore, in 2006; ‘Counting 1977-2005’ Bose Pacia, New York in 2005; ‘Cities Countries and Borders’ at Chemould Gallery, Mumbai, and Chawkandi Gallery, Karachi, in 2004; and ‘House with Four Walls’ at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York, in 1992. In addition, her work has been featured in several group shows and is part of the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, and the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris. Hashmi has been awarded residencies at Art-Omi and at the Women’s Studio Workshop, both in New York, where she eventually settled. In 1985 and in 1990 Hashmi was awarded the New York Fine Art Fellowship in the printmaking category. In addition Hashmi has taught at Bennington College, Cornell University and the University of California in Santa Cruz. She passed away on the 25th of April 2020 in London at the age of 82.