Salima Hashmi

Salima Hashmi is a Pakistani painter who served for four years as the head of the National College of Arts. She is the daughter of one of Pakistan's most renowned poets, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, and represented the first generation of modern artists in the country, who carried an artistic identity different from indigenous artists.

Life and Education:

She is currently the Dean of the School of Visual Arts at the Beaconhouse National University. Her daughter and nephew also teach there. Salima is famous for her quick wit and ability to read and analyze artwork with effortless ease. She is a respected patron of young artists known to have the capacity to make or break a career. Formerly known as "Art-Shart", Rohtas-3 is the gallery set up by Salima Hashmi at her father's house in Model Town, where she currently lives with her family. Shoaib Hashmi, her husband, retired from a teaching position at Government College University, Lahore, and was also a popular co-star with Salima in comedy television shows in the early 1970s.She has two children,a son and a daughter.Her son Yasser Hashmi is in final stages of his doctrate at McGill University Canada and teaches Psychology at Lahore University Of Management Sciences.Her daughter Mira Hashmi is actively involve in Film and Media activities.

Salima Hashmi also authored a critically lauded book titled 'Unveiling the Visible: Lives and Works of Women Artists of Pakistan' in 2001. In 2006, Salima Hashmi co-authored a book with Indian art historian Yashodhara Dalmia titled 'Memory, Metaphor, Mutations: Contemporary Art of India and Pakistan', published by Oxford University Press. Her latest work, a series of illustrations to accompany English translations of her father's poetry by her husband Shoaib Hashmi, is in process of publication.

And Syed Abdaal Ahmed Jafry Is her Personal Assistant

She has been the Dean at the School of Visual Arts, Beacon house National University, Lahore. In addition, she is an activist, a painter, art educationist, writer and curator. In recent years she has been working on developing closer links with India and working towards a unity group. She was educated at the National College of Arts (NCA), Lahore, the Bath Academy of Art, U.K., and the Rhode Island School of Design, USA.

In addition, Salima taught for 30 years at NCA, Pakistan’s premier art institution, and retired as its Principal. Her work has been exhibited, and she has traveled and lectured extensively all over the world. She has also curated numerous international art shows in England, Europe, the USA, Australia, Japan and India.

Salima Hashmi is a recipient of The President’s Award for Pride of Performance, Pakistan.

Arts Career

Salima Hashmi is one of the most well-known artists of Pakistan. Besides being an accomplished painter, she taught at Pakistan's prestigious National College of Arts (NCA) for about thirty years and served as the Principle of NCA for four years. In 1999, Salima Hashmi received Pakistan's Pride of Performance award. Today she is the Dean of School of Visual Arts at the newly established Beaconhouse National University in Lahore and she also runs her own art gallery featuring works of young artists.

Political Views

Salima Hashmi comes from a socially and politically active family. Her father was the legendary Pakistani poet, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, and her mother, the British-born Alys Faiz was a respected journalist and peace activist in Pakistan. One of two daughters, Salima was always active in the arts, performing in plays before taking on painting professionally.

Salima was about eight years old when Faiz Ahmed Faiz was imprisoned for his political views. She remembers visiting him in jail. Later, during the repressive years of General Zia-ul-Haq rule, Salima's father had to go into self-exile as a result of the harassment he faced by Zia's government. Therefore, Salima grew up in a politically charged atmosphere. Painting became her outlet.

Zia period is considered one of Pakistan's most repressive era especially for women, implications of which are still prevalent in society today. Salima's work focuses on the suffering of women in a highly patriarchal society especially under Zia-ul-Haq's. Her paintings usually include abstract figures of women depicting their struggles. They are a reflection of Salima's thoughts and feelings regarding the political and social uncertainties under which people of Pakistan have lived.

Nuclear Tests Response

Salima deplored the nuclear test conducting by India and Pakistan in 1998. In an interview with Humsafar magazine she talked about her series People Wept at Dawn which she says is in response to the nuclear tests. Salima expressed her frustration at the India and Pakistan nuclear test by saying: "It would be so much more fruitful if these energies could be used in producing food to eat, providing shelter, freedom from disease and education for all."

Salima Hashmi has also been active in the human rights movement since the early 80s when she was one of the founding members Women's Action Forum, an organization dedicated to promoting women's rights though it has been criticized for being limited to the elite class of Pakistan.


“The objective of art is to give life a shape and though artists cannot change the world they can, through their work, give flight to imagination; they can give you the direction” Salima Hashmi





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