Syed Sadequain Ahmed Naqvi, also often referred to as Sadequain Naqqash or just Sadequain, was born in 1930. Sadequain was one of Pakistan's most prolific artists, and his career has served as inspiration for several artists. In his lifetime, Sadequain is said to have painted more than 15,000 pieces including gigantic murals, intriguing canvases, innovative calligraphic works and exquisite drawings.
He shot to fame at the young age of 31, when his work won recognition at the 1961 Paris Biennale. The October 16, 1962, edition of the Parisian newspaper Le Figaro noted, “Sadequain adds up the impression of space, density, volume and the reality of matter, which transforms an abstract thought into a material fact in plastic.”
During his lifetime, Sadequain became a cult figure with a large following drawn from all walks of life. The content of his work has wide appeal, and much of it is displayed in public building in Pakistan and India in the form of monumental murals. Sadequain was a social commentator, and in the later decades of his career, frequently turned to the unifying spirit of calligraphy to appeal to the masses.
The images that Sadequain’s brush strokes produced are not only rich in symbolic meaning but so visually variegated that the eye travels fascinated from one end to the other. Sadequain was responsible for the renaissance of Islamic calligraphy in Pakistan, and is known as one of the greatest calligraphers of his time, transforming the art of calligraphy into eye-catching expressionist paintings. In Pakistan, the art of calligraphy was relegated to a second class status until Sadequain adapted this medium in the late nineteen sixties. His calligraphy has divine inspiration, and evokes a sense of space and movement. He carried the script with a flourish in all directions, giving it vigour and volume. Sadequain also painted in bold form the poetic verses of Ghalib, Iqbal and Faiz, illustrating his love for classical literature. He belonged to the school of thought, which enriched realism with lyricism. Sadequain also wrote thousands of quartets and published them.
Sadequain died in Karachi in 1987.
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