Lot 83
  • 83

ZARINA | These Cities Blotted into the Wilderness (Adrienne Rich after Ghalib)

20,000 - 25,000 USD
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  • Zarina
  • These Cities Blotted into the Wilderness (Adrienne Rich after Ghalib)
  • Signed, dated, titled and editioned under the prints: '5/20 Grozny Zarina 2003' '5/20 Sarajevo Zarina 2003''5/20 Srebrenica Zarina 2003''5/20 Beirut Zarina 2003''5/20 Jenin Zarina 2003''5/20 Baghdad Zarina 2003''5/20 Kabul Zarina 2003''5/20 Ahmedabad Zarina 2003''5/20 New York Zarina 2003'        Edition 5/20
  • Portfolio of nine woodcuts with Urdu text printed in black on Okawara paper and mounted on Somerset paper
  • Sheet size: 16 x 14 in. (40.6 x 35.5 cm.); Image size: Variable
  • Executed in 2003


Acquired from Gallery Espace, New Delhi in 2003


S. Ray, Zarina: Weaving Memories 1990 - 2006, Bodhi Art, 2007, illustration unpaginated (edition not recorded)
A. Pesenti, Zarina: Paper Like Skin, Hammer Museum and DelMonico Books, Prestel 2012, illustration p. 128 - 133 (another from the edition) 


There are very minor scuffs in the works and slight discoloration in some of the mapped parts, for example in Beirut. These are visible only upon close inspection. These works are in overall good condition, as viewed.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

Catalogue Note

Born in 1937, Zarina witnessed the traumas of Partition as a child. Her family’s upheaval raised questions about personal and communal loss and her association with certain places and memories has informed her body of work. This set of 9 prints titled these cities blotted into wilderness show each place from a birds-eye view in Zarina’s incomparable architectural style. Her astute use of minimalism to represent the complexity of history, trauma, memory, displacement and belonging, silently and poignantly extract her main artistic concerns. Before settling in New York, Zarina led a largely nomadic existence, living in Thailand, India, Pakistan, Europe, as well as Japan where she studied printmaking and woodwork. These woodcuts on paper represent cities which either have personal or historical significance to her or are contested terrains which are scarred from political conflict and war. Through her printmaking, she re-creates these places from a void, lacing them with Urdu script in the ghazal tradition; ‘the Urdu script becomes a raw material, visually manipulated, recalling both the histories of Independence and Partition of the subcontinent, as well as Zarina’s own story of her family’s move to Pakistan some years following Partition.’ (https://blog.saffronart.com/tag/these-cities-blotted-into-the-wilderness-adrienne-rice-after-ghalib/) Ahmedabad – the largest city in the state of Gujarat, which became center stage of the Indian independence movement, following Mahatma Gandhi’s arrival in 1915;
Kabul – the capital city of Afghanistan, which has been torn apart by innumerable armed conflicts since 1979
Beirut – the center point of the 1982 Lebanon War, between Palestinian, Lebanese and Israeli forces that led to the death of over 4,000 civilians
Srebrenica – a town in the east of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the site of a genocide of over 8000 Bosniaks during the Bosnian War in July 1995
Sarajevo – the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, where a siege on a capital city took place between April 1992 and February 1996, the longest in the history of modern warfare
Grozny –  the capital city of Chechnya, a site of intense violence and destruction between Russian and Chechen government forces between 1994 and 1996, which caused over 500,000 civilians to be displaced
Jenin –  a refugee camp in Palestine’s West Bank, where a fierce and bloody battle took place between the Israeli Army and Palestinian Forces in April 2002
Baghdad –  the site of a military invasion by U.S. forces in 2003, over acclaimed ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’, which caused the city to suffer serious damage to its civilian infrastructure, economy, and cultural inheritance, as well a death toll of over 2,000
New York –  where Zarina currently lives and works, after making the city her home-base in the 1970’s, and where 2,977 victims were killed by terrorist attacks on 9/11