Cities I Called Home
Zarina traveled around the world and has lived in Aligarh, Bangkok, Delhi, Paris, Bonn, Tokyo, Los Angeles, New York and London.
Cities I Called Home, 2010
I am only a small part of a big universe, but we all have stories to tell. I am already eighty years old and time is running out. To quote the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, “I don’t have enough time to tie my end to my beginning.”
I have learned a lot from my wanderings around the world and have always been very curious about how other people live. Now, in my old age, I want to go back to where I started. I often wonder what my life would have been like had I never left my house of four walls in India. I will never know the privilege of living out my days in the country in which I was born, speaking in my mother tongue. There is truth to the phrase, “You can never go home again.” I do not feel at home anywhere, but the idea of home follows me wherever I go. In dreams and on sleepless nights, the fragrance of the garden, image of the sky, and sound of language returns. I go back to the roads I have crossed many times. They are my companions and my solace.
Zarina was born and raised in Aligarh, India, a small university town about a hundred miles from Delhi. The academic and cultural environment of the university town influenced her works. Many of her works have the title “Aligarh” in them and are influenced by the courtyard in the house, her mother’s garden, fragrance, architecture, family events, and so on.
In the house at Aligarh I grew up surrounded by books. My father was professor of history at the AMU, we had a large collection of books at home. Even before I learned to read I loved to look at the printed words and images. This is what drew me to printmaking and the book.
One is influenced by so many things, words, images sounds and smells. For me prints are part of the book, I see no need for prints to compete with painting on canvas. These are two different means of expressions, two different sensibilities.
At Night I go to the House at Aligarh – 1990 (From The House at Aligarh)