Sadequain - Self Portraits


SadequainSadequain (1930-1987) would go down in the history of painting in Pakistan in particular and rest of the world in general as a genuine painter, who left so many footsteps that many are copying till date. Syed Sadequain Ahmed Naqvi, also often referred to as Sadequain Naqqash, or just Sadequain was born in 1930. At the age of 31, his work won recognition at the 1961 Paris Biennale. Sadequain had a prolific career and much of his work is displayed in public places. During his life, Sadequain became a cult figure with a large following from all walks of life. The content of his work has wider appeal, and the early works addressed social evils. In the later decades, Sadequain used the unifying spirit of calligraphy to appeal to the masses, who came in large numbers to see his exhibitions. Basically, Sadequain was a social commentator. His murals generally depicted man’s endless quest to discover and develop the endless potentialities that lie within him and without. The whole pageant of man’s triumphal progress, past, present and future is captured in line and color in one magnificent form. His murals are densely filled and tightly packed with images to render adequately the lofty subject.

The images that Sadequain's brush strokes produced are not only rich in symbolic meaning but visually so much variegated that the eye travels fascinated from point to point. Sadequain was responsible for the renaissance of Islamic Calligraphy in Pakistan. He was one of the greatest calligraphers of his time who transformed the art of calligraphy into eye-catching expressionist paintings. His calligraphy comes from a divine inspiration, giving it a dimension of space and movement. He carried the script with a flourish in all directions, giving it the power of space, vigour and volume. In Pakistan, the art of calligraphy was relegated to a second class status until Sadequain adapted this medium in the late nineteen sixties. To that time, calligraphy was restricted to few "ustads" of drawing in schools and were not avaialable to general public. After Sadequain transformed the art of calligraphy into a mainstream art form, most of the known Pakistani artists have followed Sadequain and calligraphic art now dominates the art scene. Sadequain also painted in bold form the poetic verses of Ghalib, Iqbal and Faiz, which illustrate his love for classical literature. He belonged to the school of thought, which enriched realism with lyricism. Sadequain wrote thousand of quartets and published them. Sadequain is the only painter who has been copied openly and widely by many painters and even the copies fetch large sums to the copiers, an irony since the artist himself hardly ever sold his works in spite of offers coming from the royals and the common public. As an example his masterpiece rendition of Sureh-e-Rehman has been copied widely by many known painters of the modern era.

The brush strokes stopped on February 10, 1987 in Karachi, when the greatest of the painters and calligraphists was just 57. Many have imitated his work since then, but he remains to this date a very class of his own, which cannot be imitated, copied or reproduced. 

Calligraphic Work


Sadequain Art Gallery: Frere Hall - constructed in 1868, this remarkable historical building hosts the last internationally known fine art work of the late Sadequain. Since Gallery Sadequain's in 1990, the hall hosted a number of group and solo fine arts exhibitions, seminars, workshops, two theatres on experimental basis, farshi nashist for small mosharias and ghazaliat programmes.


Specially for the webmaster of JalalsPages/PakistanPaedia by Sadequain in 1974 - a great honour indeed  

This page was created on 1 January 2005 / 8 June 2009

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