Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sadqain: A Legendary Artist And Calligrapher - - Untraditional, Self-made And Self-taught Artist

SADQAIN (1930-1986) Sadeqain was an untraditional and self-made, self-taught painter and calligrapher. His forte is his creation of mysterious - almost mystic - environment, which he achieves with his bold, uninhibited use of media, colors and lines.

Sadqain was a prolific artist; he experimented with portraits, sketches, caricatures, book titles and did a lot of Koranic calligraphy, but he seems to be at his best while depicting Ghalib. Whether it is due to his extreme devotion to Ghalib, or his profound interest in Urdu poetry (Sadeqain himself was a fine Urdu poet and published two poetry collections), he seems to be at his artistic best while painting Ghalib.

According to Aslam Kamal, "They say that Deewan e Ghalib is a Revelation. Don't know whether it's true but Sadeqain's work on Ghalib is sort of a stamp of approval to this belief".

A rare visionary, Sadqain was able to bridge the gulf between the disparate groups in society. At the age of 31 his work won recognition at the 1961 Paris Biennial. Sadqain had a prolific career and much of his work is displayed in public places. Like Diego Rivera, he celebrated the role of the proletariat. His early mural, based on the dignity of labour is housed in the Mangla dam, near Islamabad. Later he painted a mammoth ceiling for The Lahore Museum based on poet Iqbal’s verses evoking the spirit of man to triumph over odds. While working on his second ceiling at the Freer Hall in Karachi, the painter took ill and died leaving the work incomplete. During his life Sadequain became a cult figure with a large following from all walks of life.

Elongated human forms with bleeding pen-like fingers and nest-shaped head were central to his imagery. In the 70s he got nation-wide fame for his rendering of Quranic verses. Sadequain was one of the few artists who continuously received State support and was equally admired by the people. The very work that gave him a large following did not get critical acclaim. Despite the divided opinion, his influential position in art history cannot be denied. He came from a long line of master calligraphers and was perhaps ideally suited to bridge the gap between modernity and tradition. The content of his work has wider appeal, the early works addressed social evils and 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.


sadequainfoundation said...

Good post Shahid Sahab. One humble suggestion; it is proper to credit the source of material you use in your notes. Clarification: Sadequain was adjudged as the finest artist from the sub-continent by international jury and he was compared to Picasso by French art critics. State did not support him, but on the contrary he supported State by donating hundreds of millions of dollars worth of his work. The State is even incapable to maintain his work. It is sad. Sincerely, SADEQUAIN Foundation

Shahid Mahmood Butt said...

Thanks for guidelines and furhter clarification. I'll take care in the future.

Your precious comments are really valuable for me.

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