Moon (Top) & Home (Bottom): Woodcuts


Simultaneous happenings, moments parallel to each other. Zarina tries to unflinchingly transcribe this multi-layered time-space series into stark, minimal back and is very woodcuts. Her own style, she says, comes, to some extent, from Malevich, Rothko, and Pit Mondrian: “These are my gurus, in the sense that l relates to them and has learned from them,” she acknowledges.

At one level, this show is about controlling the turns life takes, and decisions which are pre-decided. Zarina is acutely aware of how little control individuals have over their lives. Through articulating this auto- biography, (as she has described it) she is able to largely decide what is presented and how. She, therefore, allows herself to take control of this representation, an autonomy exercised through memory. Nostalgia is absent. This is a strict, highly disciplined exercise.

That architecture is important to her is many diverse ways, is obvious; Ghar, darwaza, aangan, chaukhat were all part of her house, and significantly, all of them are used to represent her life in Aligarh. Look out for the manner in which symbols are present, some very evocative: we stayed at home”, she explains. In her catalogue, she writes: “Within these four walls my world revolved. Here I looked at the sky, imagined the earth, closed my eyes to the scorching sun and counted this time with work whose quality is not always seen in the Indian art world.