Google Doodle honours Indian-American artist Zarina Hashmi on her 86th birthday. Who was she?
Zarina Hashmi, the celebrated Indian-American artist and printmaker, was recently honoured by Google on her 86th birthday with a captivating doodle. Created by guest artist Tara Anand based in New York, the doodle pays homage to Hashmi's unique style, which involved the use of minimalist abstract and geometric shapes to delve into the concepts of home, displacement, borders, and memory.
Regarded as one of the most influential artists associated with the minimalist movement, Hashmi was born on this day in 1937 in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, India. She grew up with her four siblings, enjoying an idyllic life until the partition of India in 1947. The partition compelled Zarina's family to flee to Karachi, the newly formed city in Pakistan.
At the age of 21, Hashmi married a young foreign service diplomat, embarking on a journey that allowed her to traverse the globe. She travelled to Bangkok, Paris, and Japan, where she immersed herself in the world of printmaking and artistic movements such as modernism and abstraction.
In 1977, Hashmi settled in the vibrant city of New York, becoming a fervent advocate for women's rights and artists of colour. She became a part of the Heresies Collective, a feminist publication that explored the multifaceted intersection of art, politics, and social justice.
Continuing her commitment to equality and artistic education, Hashmi began teaching at the New York Feminist Art Institute, providing a platform for female artists to flourish. In 1980, she co-curated an influential exhibition at A.I.R. Gallery titled "Dialectics of Isolation: An Exhibition of Third World Women Artists of the United States." This groundbreaking event not only showcased diverse artists but also created a space where female artists of colour could express themselves freely.
Hashmi's artistic style centred on woodcuts and intaglio prints, skillfully merging semi-abstract depictions of houses and cities where she had resided. Her works often incorporated inscriptions in Urdu and featured geometric elements inspired by Islamic art.
The legacy of Zarina Hashmi continues to captivate and provoke contemplation worldwide. Her art can be found 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, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, to name just a few.
Today's Google doodle serves as a testament to the lasting impact of Zarina Hashmi's contributions to the art world. Doodles, temporary alterations of the Google logo on its homepages, have become a means for the tech giant to celebrate significant events and pay tribute to notable public figures.