"I lived in Aligarh with my siblings and my parents a long time back. Through my prints, I have revisited my childhood. [...] In 2000, when I was in Delhi, I decided to go to Aligarh for a day to visit this place about which I had created a whole narrative, which is only 81 miles away from Delhi but which is 3,438 miles away from New York! I went to see the house from which I have derived so much inspiration - The House with Four Walls. It was very strange - I felt very close and yet very distant. My parents were no longer there, my brothers were scattered all over the world. I didn't know how to connect with my own feelings. In a way, it was like closing a book shut" (G. Sen, 'Interview: Zarina Hashmi', Art India, Volume XI, Issue 1, Mumbai, 2006, p. 49).
Exploring the ideas and feelings of home, belonging, displacement, memory and loss, Zarina's autobiographical prints invite the viewer to find refuge in the homes she represents, both physically and metaphysically. In House with Four Walls, the artist combines text and images to reflect on her childhood home in Aligarh. Through poetic phrases and symbolic forms, she brings her memories of living there alive several decades after she moved away. Her minimalist forms include a spiral that reminds her of a snake that once slithered into the house, the horizontal lines that recall the slatted bamboo window shades that would be lowered for afternoon naps in the summers, and a series of arched T-bars that are like the pillar that the children believed harbored a ghost on rainy nights.
Initially trained in mathematics and deeply influenced by architecture, the prints in this portfolio reflect Zarina's understanding of space and proportion and her affinity for both poetry and geometry. House with Four Walls was executed during the artist's residency at the Women's Studio Workshop, a visual arts organization dedicated to printmaking in Rosendale, New York in 1991.
Zarina passed away earlier this year after a long illness. Leaving behind a rich artistic legacy, she will be remembered as one of the most important printmakers of South Asian origin practicing in the last century. Greatly admired by those who knew her, Zarina was a keen observer of society, politics and culture. She will be deeply missed for her playful wit, kindness and generosity all of which were extended to anyone she was acquainted with. Christie’s is honored to begin this auction with a portfolio by the artist.