Salima Hashmi

1942 | Lahore, Pakistani
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— Asia Art Archive

Pakistani painter, activist and essayist.

Daughter of the renowned poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz (1911-1984), and a professor of art for thirty years at the National College of Arts in Lahore, Salima Hashmi is currently the dean of the School of Visual Arts at Beaconhouse National University in Lahore. Believing that “male writers have neglected the history of Pakistan’s women”, she took on a monumental task: writing and recording the life and work of female artists in Pakistan in her book Unveiling the Visible: Lives and Works of Women Artists of Pakistan. The publication includes a never before published manifesto (1983) signed by 15 women artists who denounce the lack of freedom of expression of women artists under the Zia-ul-Haq regime, the Islamisation of Pakistani society, its intolerance and anti-progress stance. A convinced pacifist, she works to bring Indo-Pakistani reconciliation by developing artistic projects that go beyond the two countries’ borders.

In 2008, during the Indian and Pakistani nuclear tests, she took a courageous stand against the race for arms. “It would have been so much more fruitful if all this energy had been used to produce food, build shelter for the needy and provide education and care for all,” she said. A series of paintings, The People Wept at Dawn, expresses her disavowal of nuclear testing. A human rights activist – particularly for women’s rights – she is a founding member of the Women’s Action Forum. Some of her paintings depict abstract figures of women struggling against the monsters of everyday life.

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Roshan Gill

Translated from the French by Katia Porro.

From the Dictionnaire universel des créatrices
© 2013 Des femmes – Antoinette Fouque
© Archives of Women Artists, Research and Exhibitions
Salima Hashmi — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Salima Hashmi, Morning paper, 1983, mixed media on paper, 38.1 x 45.72 cm, Courtesy Salima Hashmi / Asia Art Archive

Salima Hashmi — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Salima Hashmi, A flowering silence, 1989, mixed media on paper, 91.44 x 119.38 cm, Courtesy Salima Hashmi / Asia Art Archive

Salima Hashmi — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Salima Hashmi, Dard Aayega Dabay Paaon, 1998, egg tempera on board, 22.86 x 27.94 cm, Courtesy Salima Hashmi / Asia Art Archive

Salima Hashmi — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Salima Hashmi, Homage to love, 1992, acrylic on canvas, 60.96 x 91.44 cm, Courtesy Salima Hashmi / Asia Art Archive

Salima Hashmi — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Salima Hashmi, Memories of other landscapes, 1990, etching, Courtesy Salima Hashmi / Asia Art Archive

Salima Hashmi — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Salima Hashmi, People Wept at Dawn, 1999, mixed media, 55.88 x 91.44 cm, Courtesy Salima Hashmi / Asia Art Archive

Salima Hashmi — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Salima Hashmi, The people wept at dawn, 2000, mixed media on paper, 50.8 × 76.2 cm, Courtesy Salima Hashmi / Asia Art Archive

Salima Hashmi — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Salima Hashmi, Alive in my time series, 1986, mixed media on paper, 45.72 x 55.88 cm, Courtesy Salima Hashmi / Asia Art Archive

Salima Hashmi — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Salima Hashmi, Carnival, 1979, oil on canvas, 60.96 x 91.44 cm, Courtesy Salima Hashmi / Asia Art Archive

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