Today, Google Doodle pays homage to the legendary Zarina Hashmi on what would have been her 86th birthday. A pioneer of minimalist and abstract art, Zarina’s unique blend of personal narratives and global experiences left an indelible mark on the art world. Let’s delve into the life and work of this remarkable artist and celebrate her profound contributions.

Zarina Hashmi

Early Life and Journey

Zarina Hashmi, widely known as Zarina, was born on July 16, 1937, in Aligarh, British India (now India). She grew up in a vibrant household with an affinity for art, thanks to her father, who was an academic and connoisseur of Indian classical music. Inspired by her father’s deep appreciation for aesthetics, Zarina’s artistic inclination blossomed from a young age.

After completing her Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Aligarh Muslim University, Zarina moved to Bangkok, where she immersed herself in printmaking. Subsequently, she continued her artistic exploration in Paris and Tokyo before eventually settling in the United States. These diverse cultural influences would become an integral part of her artistic expression, shaping her distinctive style.

Artistic Expression and Style

Zarina’s artistic journey was characterized by a profound sense of displacement, exile, and the quest for belonging. Her experiences as an immigrant and a woman became recurring themes in her work. The minimalist aesthetic she embraced allowed her to distill complex emotions into simple yet evocative forms.

Working primarily with paper, Zarina crafted intricate woodcuts, etchings, and sculptures. Her art often featured geometric shapes, lines, and symbols that conveyed a sense of space and movement. The artist’s fascination with maps and cartography was evident, as she explored the concept of borders, territories, and human connections.

Significance and Legacy

Zarina’s work resonated deeply with audiences worldwide, earning her accolades and recognition throughout her career. Her art was exhibited in renowned galleries and museums, including the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, and the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.

While her style was minimalist, the emotions and themes embedded within her art were profound and deeply personal. Zarina’s work captured the essence of displacement and the longing for home, prompting viewers to reflect on their own identities and connections to the world around them.

Zarina’s influence extended beyond her artistic practice. She paved the way for countless aspiring artists, especially women and individuals from marginalized communities. Her unapologetic exploration of themes such as displacement, belonging, and gender opened up conversations and challenged existing narratives within the art world.


As we celebrate Zarina Hashmi’s 86th birthday, we honor her exceptional contributions to the art world. Her ability to distill complex emotions into minimalist forms and her fearless exploration of personal and global themes make her an extraordinary figure in contemporary art.

Zarina’s legacy continues to inspire and empower artists today. Through her work, she invites us to contemplate our place in the world, our relationships to borders and territories, and the enduring human desire for connection and belonging. The Google Doodle on her birthday serves as a reminder of the indomitable spirit of this visionary artist, whose art transcended boundaries and spoke to the human experience.

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