Published Oct 11, 2015 03:50pm

Sadequain's ruba’iyat: 'He broke traditional silence over ugliness'

Known as an artist of the masses, Syed Sadequain Naqvi was honoured at the 60th anniversary celebrations of the IBA City Campus.

At the opening of the gallery at IBA's Aman Tower earlier this week, notable intellectuals including Fakir S. Aijazuddin, Niilofur Farrukh and Nomanul Haq had a discussion on 'Sadequain in Koochaiye Khayyam' - and shared their views about the artist’s ruba’iyat (quatrains). which were displayed at the gallery.

Sadequain's portrait as painted by his grandnephew. — Photo by Yumna Rafi Sadequain's portrait as painted by his grandnephew. — Photo by Yumna Rafi

Art critic Niilofur Farrukh spoke at length about Sadequain’s work and also touched upon his poetry that was in line with his paintings.

She also posed a question whether his strokes could be construed as misogynistic or whether they were in conflict with the thoughts of a sacred lover who wanted to appease a bruised ego.

She also put forward an interesting point that Sadequain shed light upon the need for the female gender to express her sexuality, an aspect locked away in our conservative society.

Speaking about how he addressed the world he lived in, she mentioned that Sadequain said: “I am those who talk of the gutter.”

“He broke the traditional silence over ugliness. He wasn’t after the world, pursued reality and questioned debauchery,” she said.

He didn’t consider himself to be a drawing room artist and used grotesque to portray the evil lurking everywhere. For him, art consumed him, trained him intellectually, physically and emotionally.

Given that it’s far easier to label such individuals as iconoclasts than to delve deeper in their thoughts, many were also critical of his beliefs. But he wasn’t critical of religion as much as he was of the gatekeepers of faith.

.— Photo by Yumna Rafi .— Photo by Yumna Rafi

The artist who was quite fond of Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib was revisited by Dr Nomanul Haq who also drew parallels with Persian poet Omar Khayyam who is famous for his ruba’iyat. His shift from painting to poetry and poetry to painting and at times both simultaneously was indeed inventive.

The quatrains vary from the traditional theme of beauty, love to the societal norms which were challenged by him as he raised questions which have a tendency to cause an unease.

A visitor looks intently at one of the paintings. — Photo by Yumna Rafi A visitor looks intently at one of the paintings. — Photo by Yumna Rafi

The gallery ends on October 11 at 8pm.

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