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Zarina Hashmi, Untitled I, 2009, paper, gold leaf, 16 1/2 x 13".

Zarina Hashmi

Gallery Espace

Zarina Hashmi, Untitled I, 2009, paper, gold leaf, 16 1/2 x 13".

What do you do when home is somewhere you will never be? You could bemoan your exile with hilariously depressing fiction à la Salman Rushdie. You could fashion crystal-studded paintings of hybrid beasts (neither fish nor fowl, but always glittering) in the vein of British-Kashmiri Raqib Shaw. Or you could aim for subtlety, as New York–based Zarina Hashmi did in “Recent Works,” her recent solo show of paper works and fragile installations. For all their pretty serenity—paper has been sliced and woven to resemble a cream-hued chatai (mat), or coated with black obsidian to imitate a shimmery night sky—Hashmi’s works hover around memories of personal and communal loss. She maps the falling-apart of secular India, a process that for most Indians was driven home by the Hindu-Muslim riots of 1992 and 2002. Urdu, once the language of the Mughal court, and Hashmi’s mother tongue,

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