20 artists pay tribute to Sadequain with art inspired by his prolific body of work

20 artists pay tribute to Sadequain with art inspired by his prolific body of work

The exhibition was a collective tribute by emerging and established artists from Islamabad.
10 Jun, 2024

Gallery 6 celebrated the legendary artist, Sadequain, through various events and exhibitions since 2012. On Sunday, this tradition continued with the latest exhibition, ‘Sadequain Ki Anjuman Mein’, which marked the artist’s 94th birth anniversary.

The exhibition was a collective tribute by 20 emerging and established artists who drew inspiration from Sadequain’s prolific body of work.

Previous notable exhibitions such as ‘Sadequain aur Mein’ (2015) and ‘Seher-e-Sadequain’ (2022) had been well-received by the art community, which applauded the outstanding presentations of artworks inspired by Sadequain.

The process for ‘Sadequain Ki Anjuman Mein’ began in February. Gallery 6 invited 10 emerging artists from the national biennial Arjumand Painting Award 2023, who, despite not winning, had made significant submissions.

These artists participated in an intensive two-week art retreat, delving into Sadequain’s life and works through books, images, letters, quatrains, videos, interviews and discussions. Additionally, 10 established artists were briefed about the exhibition and conducted their studies to create their pieces.

The exhibition showcased a diverse range of interpretations influenced by Sadequain’s art.

Asif Hussain and Mohsinur Rahman’s paintings drew from the ‘Crows and Scarecrows’ series, while Behzad Warsi and Ubaida Ghazanfar created works based on Sadequain’s quatrains.

Faheem Abbas focused on self-portraiture, reflecting a recurring theme in Sadequain’s series, and Masood A. Khan depicted the legend himself. Farrukh Shahab’s work weaved together the symbolic motifs and expressive forms that defined Sadequain’s compositions.

Hamza Qazi and Ramsha Khan explore Sadequain’s profound quest for life’s meaning, emphasising social and political dimensions.

Imran Baloch’s works, such as ‘Urooj o Zawal’, highlighted the regression of the Urdu language, questioning if Sadequain would still be as proficient in Urdu today. Irfan Gul Dahri, overwhelmed by Sadequain’s narrative variety, followed a similar path by presenting stories through hybrid characters.

Khadija Saeed Akhtar found personal reflection in Sadequain’s Cactus Series.

Mariam Arshad was inspired by Sadequain’s focus on labourers, farmers and common people, reflecting their daily struggles in her work. Maryam Ahsan draws from Sadequain’s portrayal of women, blending realism with lyricism. Mazher Qureshi, appreciating Sadequain’s impact on mainstream calligraphy, and Ubaid Tariq, blending traditional calligraphy with modern art forms, highlighted the sacred through modern digital languages.

Nabiha Gilani focused on humanity’s quest for potential in her work, while Sabahat’s tribute through paintings reflected Sadequain’s mural style filled with numerous figures.

Dr Arjumand Faisel, the exhibition’s curator, alongside designer Noor Imran, created a digital artwork titled ‘Treasures of My Time’, inspired by Sadequain’s 1961 mural for the State Bank.

Featuring 19 leading art personalities of Pakistan, Faisel’s work received high praise from prominent figures like Aziz Hasan.

Cezanne Naqsh, son of another legend Jamil Naqsh, expressed his admiration for the exhibition, stating it set a new standard for curatorial excellence, being visually stunning and deeply informative.

At the preview, Dr Faisel expressed pleasure in presenting this research-based curated show as a tribute to Sadequain.

Overwhelmed by the global interest and positive feedback, he extended a warm welcome to all art lovers to experience this fascinating exhibition.

Originally published in Dawn, June 10th, 2024