Sadequain: An artist extraordinaire

Pakistan Press Foundation

Karachi: When an artist depicts social and political ills of the society through the canvas, the ideological and philosophical conflicts of the artist’s mind take on a visual appearance. The unseen ideas and theories then appear as physical symbols and objects.

Syed Sadequain Ahmed Naqvi, popularly known as Sadequain Naqqash, was one such artist who beautifully managed to reflect the complex nature of Pakistan’s societal and cultural conflicts in his work.

Best known for his innovative calligraphy, the genre was marked by Sadequain’s signature for times, as well as the new generation of calligraphers to come.

“Unlike Iranian calligraphers, Sadequain introduced visual illustrations in calligraphy,” said Sadequain’s relative Sultan Ahmed while talking to The News on Tuesday, at the opening ceremony of an exhibition titled ‘Sadequain: Letters, Rubaiyat and Paintings’ at the Spaces Gallery.

Sadequain knew the art of depicting objects through his calligraphy, Ahmed explained.

“When writing a Quranic verse about a bird, he had written the verse in a way that viewers could easily make out the bird through his calligraphy.”

Ahmed while responding to Sadequain’s presentation of socialist ideas thorough his work, while also communicating Quranic verses, said, “He was a symbol of possible connection between religion and socialism.”

“His work showcased the growing influence of socialist ideas in the aftermath of the Russian revolution, since he had witnessed the global political changes himself.”

Sadequain’s artistic talent was such that he managed to create his own style of writing, which later on came to be known by his name.

Journalist Toqeer Muhajir, while sharing his views over the exhibition said the letters showcased at the gallery were of significant importance as they depicted Pakistan’s history.

“The exhibition is unique in the sense that Sadequain’s private letters, which had not ever been previously showcased, are on display,” he said.

It was essential to understand an artist’s private life to interpret his work and help bridge the gap between viewers and Sadequain’s philosophy, he added.

He said that the artist belonged to an era when art movements were being driven by different schools of thoughts, but the artist did not attach himself with any of those.

“Sadequain is not a name of an artist, but of an art movement.” The exhibition will continue till September 20.

The News