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Art AsiaPacific Almanac 2010
vol. 5, January 2010
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Contemporary Visual Culture 

The Ten Thousand Things

Luhring Augustine, New York - Rarely are artworks so simply beautiful as Zarina Hashmi's prints, sculptures and cut-paper works, which have a way of putting viewers at ease- even if her most persistent themes are exile and homelessness. "Home Is a Foreign Place" (1999), a suite of 36 woodcuts, are elemental, geometric forms - crosses, lines, squares, circles - explained by an Urdu caption, as in the diagonal lines of Rain, the scratched surface of Despair and the line connecting two points in Distance. 
Home is a recurring theme with Hashmi, who was born into a Muslim family in Aligarh, India, outside of New Delhi, but has lived in Bangkok, Bonn, and then Tokyo and New York for long periods. Homes I Made (1984) is a collection of terracotta and stainless steel cubes, vaguely shaped like a pitched-roof house set on toy wheels-the title a sly joke on both her role as artist and her peripatetic history. 
In the elegant Tasbih (Prayer Beads) IV (2008), prayer beads made from wood and burnished with gold leaf are suspended from a leather cord and hung on the gallery wall. In a recent piece, Wrapping the Travels (2009), Hashmi wove together strips of paper containing Urdu text and woodcut prints, overlaid with a map of the Indian cities she visited on a recent trip, offering a sense of her emotional voyages. 

Zarina Hashmi, Home is a Foreign Place (detail), 1999, woodcuts on paper, 40.6 x 33 cm each. Courtesy the artist and Luhring Augustine.

Almanac 2010
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