Headline: Printmaker Zarina Hashmi Finally Gets Her Due at the Guggenheim
The article introduces an exhibition, “Zarina: Paper Like Skin”, that is currently on view at the Guggenheim Museum. It briefly touches upon the artist’s background, and how she has arrived to produce a work of nostalgic art. Zarina has lived a nomadic life since her family was forced to migrate to Pakistan from Aligarh, northern India, where she was born and raised. By the late 50s she gets married and travels extensively with her husband, bouncing between Europe and Asia. Zarina, however, loses her partner; and she starts a new journey in New york.
For 35 years and more, she has built intimate relationship with an amenable medium, paper. She explores techniques in printmaking, and producing hand-made papers as her canvas. Then, she thoughtfully brings the journey of her nomadic life on to the papers, as if it is an act of meditation. Zarina tells a complex story of her voyage, people, culture and history through every piece of the papers; she is creating a visual narrative.
The exhibition brought my attention because it carries comparable concept of Lauren’s books. Lauren uses both text and imagery to create what she called a “visual journalism.” Yet, she does not fill every page with texts; there are moments when she simply fills the whole page with an image, letting the visuals speak itself. “Powerful way to use the text is to not use it at all” is what she said, and in many ways I think Zarina’s works correspond to this statement.
There is not a clear definition of what makes Zarin’s work a global issue, but it helps us to see how she has chosen an overlooked material, translated into her own language and communicated with the world through visual art/design.