World Press
London Times, London, UK
There is an impressive fund of energy in his works.

Le Figaro, Paris, France
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.

New York Times, USA
There is a New Personality in Art

  • 1930, Born in Amroha, UP, India.
  • 1948, Graduated from Agra University in Art History. Migrated to Pakistan.
  • 1954-60, Held numerous one-man exhibitions at Quetta Residency, and in Karachi at Prime Minister H. S. Suhrawardy’s residence, Frare Hall, executed murals in Jinnah Central Hospital, Karachi Airport, Services Club, and Mangla Dam Committee Room.
  • 1960, Awarded "Tamgha-e-Imtiaz" and First Prize in the All Pakistan National Exhibition of Paintings. Visited France at the invitation of the French Committee of International Association of Plastic Arts and awarded Laureate Biennale de Paris by the International Jury of Critics.
  • 1961, Executed several murals, including “Treasures of Times” in the Headquarters of the State Bank of Pakistan, Karachi.
  • 1962, Awarded president’s medal for "Pride of Performance." Exhibition at "Musee Maision du Culture". Le Havre, France. One-man Exhibition at Galerie Lambert, Paris and permanent exhibition at Galerie Mona Lisa, Paris.
  • 1963, Visited USA, UK, and France. Exhibition at Henry Gallery, Washington. Exhibition at the Commonwealth Institute Galleries, London. Exhibition at the N.V.C. Gallery, London. Exhibition in the 5th Salon of the "Young and Great Artists" at the Museum of Modern Art, Paris.
  • 1964, Exhibition at Galerie Presboug, Paris. Selected to do color
  • lithographs for a special publication of the novel by Albert Camus, L’ Etranger, published by the Automobile Club of France.
  • 1965, Several exhibitions in France including at Nouran Havre, Palais de la Mediterrinean, Chateau-Musee Annecy, Musee Casino Dieppe, Casino de Charbonnieres, and Musee Macon. Also exhibition of Paintings at the Arts Council Gallery, Karachi and at Alhamra, Lahore.Executed the mural "War and Peace" at Karachi.
  • 1966, Retrospective Exhibition of 300 paintings at the Banking Hall of the State Bank Headquarters, Karachi. Exhibition on Lloyd Triestino's ship "Victoria" while crossing the Red Sea, the Mediterranean Sea and the Adriatic Sea.Executed a mural in Lusanne, Switzerland entitled "Pakistan" in the Pakistan Pavilion in the Swiss Fair. Later on that mural was exhibited in New York and Tokyo and now it is permanently installed in Toronto, Canada. Executed a mural "Flight" in the PIA, Office at Paris.
  • 1967, Executed the mural entitled"Saga of Labor" at Mangla Dam Power House. Executed a Mural "The Light of the Book" in the Punjab Public Library.
  • 1968, Executed the mural "Quest for knowledge" for the library of the University of Punjab. Executed murals for the Auditorium of the Punjab University entitled “The Confrontation” and “The Triumph.” Exhibition of Murals and Paintings at "Al Hamra.” Held series of exposition of paintings at the PIA Auditorium titled "Barbed Wire," "Reflection Series," and Exposition of 25 paintings, illustration on the verses of Mirza Ghalib. Also exposition of the Calligraphies of Verses of the Holy Quran executed during the month of Ramzan.
  • 1969, More paintings based on the poetry of Ghalib to celebrate the death centenary of Ghalib. Exposition of paintings based on the poetry of Ghalib and Calligraphies of the concerned verses at the Arts Council Buildings, Karachi. Composed some 1500 Rubbaiyyat. Painted about 100 paintings on the themes of Rubaiyyat. First Edition of the "Rubaiyyat-e-Sedequain-e-Naqash" appeared.
  • Exposition of Paintings and Poetry with Calligraphy at the Arts Council Building, Karachi. Started Calligraphy of "Sura-e-Rahman:" Concentrated on calligraphy resulting in an Exposition of Calligraphic works during the month of Ramzan 1390 A.H. at the Arts Council of Pakistan, Karachi. After floods in East Pakistan painted a large mural on the theme of man's struggle against the hostile forces of nature. That mural was donated to the Naval Head-quarters, Queen's Road, Karachi, and it was housed there. Later shifted to Istanbul Turkey.
  • 1970, Exposition of the Calligraphic works at the Library of Headquarters of the State Bank of Pakistan during the International Islamic Conference. Executed some large drawings, paintings and calligraphies based on the poetry of Faiz Ahmed Faiz to celebrate the 60th Birthday of Faiz Ahmad Faiz.
  • Made some 200 pen and ink drawings for the illustrated edition of Rubaiyyat-e-Sadequain-e-Naqash" and wrote the preface of the "Bayaz-e-Sadequaini".
  • Exposition of the paintings based on Ghalib's poetry side by side. Executed "Sura-e-Yasin" 260 ft. on wooden panels for the Islamic Gallery and donated it to the Lahore Museum. Exhibition of Calligraphic works at the Arts Council of Pakistan Karachi, while being admitted in the Jinnah Hospital.
  • Executed the ceiling at the Lahore Museum's central gallery. Finished the ceiling on 3rd August 1973, and gave it away as a gift to the wheat colored beauties of Lahore.
  • Exposition of the Calligraphic works at the Liaquat Memorial Hall, Rawalpindi.
  • 1974, Worked on Calligraphic Paintings. Preparations of the "Air Mail Edition" made for the Middle East Traveling Exhibitions.
One man shows at the following cities of Middle East:
  • Municipal Library Hall, Dubai (U.A.E.)
  • Main Hall, Hilton Hotel, Abu Dhabi (U.A.E.)
  • Markazul Funoon, Jeddah (Saudi Arabia)
  • Ardul Muarad, Museum of Cairo, (Egypt)
  • National Museum of Damascus, Damascus, (Syria)
  • Hall of Jardon Intercontinental, Amman (Jordon)
  • National Art Gallery of Kuwait, (Kuwait).
  • Museum of Modern art, Baghdad (Iraq)
  • 1975, Wrote quatrains and made line drawings only. Painted two large murals for the Sports Complex, Islamabad. Converted Montgomery Hall into his painting workshops. The theme was the struggle for emancipation,fighting for freedom of the nations of Asia and Africa Their fight against imperialism.
  • 1976, Calligraphed 99 "Isma-e-Husna" on squarish pieces of Chip Board. Now permanently in the Islamic gallery Lahore museum as a gift to the city.
  • 1977, Did some two hundred line drawings and composed Rubaiyat (quatrains). Paintings based on lqbal's poetry. A series of films "Mojiza-e-Fun" was made by the Lahore T.V. Exhibition of Calligraphy in Punjab Arts Council. Exhibition of paintings based on the poetry of lqbal in the Lahore Museum.
  • 1978, Books of poetry along with illustrations. The whole year was devoted to calligraphy. An exhibition of Arches followed during the month of Ramazan of 1399 AH in Lahore museum. Now they are permanently fixed in the Islamic Gallery of Lahore museum as a donation by the artist.
  • 1979, More Calligraphies. National bank of Pakistan calligraphic mural some smaller murals for the said Bank and during the same period, made nine more calligraphic murals for the Lahore museum as a permanent feature of the Islamic gallery as a gift. Some fine compiled books of quatrain with illustrations. Published personal letters to the Elder brother Kaz-e-man exactly as they were written from Europe and America during the sixties.
  • Spectacular permanent manifestation of the works of Calligraphy in the Lahore museum's Islamic Gallery. More murals were added into the Architectural setting of the Gallery. Went to Abu Dhabi, on a special invitation of the ministry of Water and Electricity to do a calligraphic mural in the lobby of the prestigious power station at Urn-ul-Naar. Awarded "Sitara-e-lmtiaz".
  • In Bahrain, International Islamic Exhibition on the turn of the century of Hijra: Pakistan was represented with only Sadequain's Calligraphies. The Pakistan section was visited by His Highness the Amir of Bahrain together with Mr. Yasir Arafat. The Pakistan section was awarded the first prize. Left the Trophy to be kept in the Pakistan Embassy, Bahrain. Invitations from Istanbul and London for exhibitions.
  • 1980, Hijra Celebrations in Karachi by holding first an Exposition of Calligraphy.
  • 1981, Inauguration of Galerie Sadequain in Islamabad. Arrived at New Delhi after 33 years. Visited Amroha. Exposition of Calligraphies, International Trade Fair, New Delhi. Exposition of Paintings and Drawings sponsored by Indian Council for Cultural Relations at State Lalit Kala Academy, Rabindra Bhawan, New Delhi.
  • 1982, Exhibition of Calligraphies and Drawings at Kennedy Hall, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh.
  • Executed the Calligraphy of the University motto for Moulana Azad Library, A.M.U. Aligarh.
  • Executed a Metallic Mural for the exterior of the Department of Geography, A.M.U. Aligarh.
  • Exhibition of Paintings & Calligraphies, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi.
  • Exhibition of calligraphies & Drawings at Urdu Ghar, Hyderabad, Deccan, along with a small mural for the Urdu Ghar.
  • Mural of Earth Sciences in National Geophysical Research Institute, Hyderabad, Deccan, Unveiling Ceremony.
  • Visited Varanasi. Executed a mural Quest for Reality for Banaras Hindu University.
  • Unveiling of the mural by Raja Sahab of Banaras at Bharat Kala Bhawan. B.H.U. Varanasi, India.
  • Exhibition of Calligraphies & Drawings, State Lalit Kala Academy, Lucknow, India.
  • Exhibition of Calligraphies at Ghalib Academy New Delhi in Ramazan Tradition.
  • Awarded: International Gold Mercury Award.
  • Executed a Five Story Circular Calligraphy based on Asma-e-Husna for the Indian Institute of Islamic Studies, New Delhi.
  • 1983, Composed some 1000 rubaiyyats.
  • 1984, Started writing biography.
  • 1985, Illustrated verses of Faiz Ahmed Faiz on the death of poet. Exhibition of calligraphies at Kuala Lampur. Calligraphed 99 Isma-e-Husna on marble panels and gifted to NIPA Karachi.
  • 1986, Exhibition of calligraphies at Bagh-e-Jinnah. Gifted 40 Marble penal of Sura-e-Rahman to the citizens of Karachi. Studio of Frere Hall. Started painting ceiling of the Frere hall (40' X 70')
  • Painted calligraphic mural for Faisal Masjid, Islamabad.
  • January 1987, Fell ill and admitted to hospital.
  • February 10, 1987, Expired. Buried at Sakhi Hasan Grave Yard Karachi.

© SADEQUAIN Foundation. All Rights Reserved

Sadequain traveled all over the world long before it became fashionable and accessible to his generation. His paintings were widely displayed on all continents and received praise from public and connoisseurs alike and commanded generous press coverage.
Below are select excerpts from print media from all continents.


Le Figaro, Paris, France
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.
Le Monde, Paris, France
The multiplicity of Sadequain's gifts is reminiscent of Picasso.
London Times, London, UK
There is an impressive fund of energy in his works.
Romania Libera, Bucharest, Romania
Sadequain, Remarkable Messenger of Pakistani Art. The huge painting of Sadequain’s calligraphy illustrates the best, the eloquent sources of an art that succeeds in suggesting the passionate approach of many fundamental views on human being’s existence.
Sciatica, Bucharest, Romania
The creation of Sadequain is a modern vision of a strong expressiveness and commotional force.
The Art Review, London England
In Sadequain’s paintings the metamorphoses of plant into human figures have cosmic implications. Although Sadequain’s paintings are saturated with all that identifies him with his natural background or development he has clearly succeeded in transplanting his vision into an internationally understood medium. The exhibition of paintings by Sadequain held in Commonwealth Institute Art Gallery so impressed the directors of the New Vision Center that they have arranged a subsequent show of his work.


Christian Science Monitor, USA
Pakistan’s pride Upside Down Artist Sadequain
New York Times, USA
There is a New Personality in Art
Washington Post, USA
Like every born artist Sadequain thinks in terms of form rather than the subject matter. His drawings are sophisticated and knowledgeable.


Al-Ahram, Cairo, Egypt
His paintings are characterized by a humanitarian touch, which abhors destruction and death and calls for life. The breath taking beauty and elegance of the Arabic Alphabet in its permutations and combinations of the horizontal, the vertical and the curvilinear, enthralled Egyptian artists.


Milli Gazette, Istanbul, Turkey
Sadequain, Pioneer of Islamic Painting. The people who visited Sadequain’s exhibition were delighted to see that the gallery had assumed an entire different look due to Sadequain’s works on display.
Tasvir, Ankara Turkey
The renowned artist Sadequain is most prolific
Yeni Ulus, Ankara, Turkey
Sadequain, who became famous more than twenty years ago for his abstract paintings, introduced something quite unique in the world art, namely the ornate painting or calligraphy of verses of the Holy Quran.
Al-Dustour, Amman, Jordan
For the first time in modern history, an Islamic Artist surpassed himself and others in East and West. Sadequain. “The Great Islamic Artist” and his ability to transform Arab Calligraphy into Expressive Paintings.
Al-Liwa, Lebanon
Sadequain, a great contemporary artist. He is very serious and a social critic with a transparent eye to things and life. It seems that Sedequain is not indebted at all to Western Art, for, he only emerges from two springs the muslim past and the natural environment of his country and all his artistic works combine either with muslim past or with human being and from them he drives his inspiration.
Al-Thawra, Damascus, Syria
From within these works, Sadequain seems a calligraphist, and original master of his craft to the extent that he carries out the script from all directions with power, mastery and perfection.
Al-Urdun, Amman, Jordan
When his pen moves in his hands, it seems all nature, including the past, present and future moves.
Kayhan International, Iran
Calligraphy takes off into space
Khaleej Times, UAE
“Renaissance of Islamic Calligraphy.” A mystic artist from Pakistan who has become a legend in his own time. The remarkable story of Sadequain, who did not seek but was endowed with divine inspiration.
Rastakhez, Tehran, Iran
“From Agony to Ecstasy”
His exhibition in Abu Dhabi has been seen by many people and most of the visitors who inspected his works wanted to buy them. “But the exhibits are not for sale” he told them.
The Daily News, Kuwait
Sadequain is a lean thin man of 44, very amiable and pleasant and every inch an Artist. He lives the life of a dervish.
Tehran Journal, Tehran, Iran
However, none of the works on display are for sale and many prospective buyers have been disappointed by this aspect of his exhibition.


Daily West Australia
Sadequain, the great speaker of truth.

© SADEQUAIN Foundation. All Rights Reserved
Excerpts from a book to be published by Salman Ahmad

Sadequain was the most prolific painter of the post partition Pakistan and perhaps of our times. He was constantly at work and he worked on large scale. He repeatedly stated that he was not interested in decorating drawing rooms of rich and powerful. He worked tirelessly on large murals for public buildings symbolic of the collective labor of humanity and his work was mostly donated to the public.
His murals adorn the halls at State Bank of Pakistan (100 x 15 ft), Power House at the Mangla Dam (200 x 30 ft), Lahore Museum, Punjab Public Library and Staff College Lahore, Aligarh Muslim University (70 x 12 ft), Banaras Hindu University (70 x 12 ft), Geological Institute of India (40 x 12 ft), Frare Hall Karachi and Abu Dhabi Power House are just to name a few.
Best known for his calligraphies, Sadequain painted abstracts, drawings, and sketches on thousands of canvases, volumes of paper, and multitudes of other conventional and unconventional materials.
Sadequain was responsible for the renaissance of Islamic Calligraphy in Pakistan. He was one of the greatest calligraphers of our time and helped transform the art of calligraphy into serious expressionist paintings. He claimed that his transformation into a calligrapher was manifested by divine inspiration. He did not follow the tradition and created his own style of script. His alphabets exude motion, mood, and paint vivid pictures of the message of the word. Sadequain claimed that many of his paintings especially after the seventies had been based on calligraphic forms to portray images of cities, buildings, forests, men, and women.
In Pakistan, the art of calligraphy was relegated to a second-class status until Sadequain adapted this medium in the late nineteen sixties. Until then a few painters experimented with the medium but it remained as just that, an experiment. After Sadequain transformed the art of calligraphy into a mainstream art form, most of the known Pakistani artists have followed Sadequain and calligraphic art now dominates the art scene.
Many painters have emulated Sadequain openly and widely and even the fakes fetch large sums for the copiers, an irony since Sadequain himself hardly ever sold his paintings in spite of offers from the royals and the common public. In a recent auction in a London auction house one of his painting was sold for $90,000. His masterpiece rendition of “Sureh-e-Rehman” has been copied widely by many known painters of the modern era and it can even be found adorning the facades of many houses in Karachi in exacting resemblance of Sadequain’s signature script.
In nineteen sixties Sadequain was invited by the French authorities to illustrate the award winning novel “The Stranger” by French writer Albert Camus. Sadequain also illustrated on canvas the poetry of Ghalib, Iqbal and Faiz as homage to their place in classical literature. Sadequain wrote thousands of quartets, which address a common theme of social and cultural dogmas and published them.

A special word is warranted about the large murals Sadequain painted, which are spread all over the subcontinent. His murals depict man’s struggle, his achievements and persistent thirst to discover his endless potential. His murals are full of activity, ideas, and they read like an unfolding story about their particular theme.
One of his most powerful works is the gigantic mural measuring 200'x30' for the Power House of Mangla Dam. He completed it in an incredible period of three months during which he worked day and night. Aptly so, the mural is titled "The Saga of Labor," The mural, one of the largest in the world portrays the history of mankind. Its pays homage to its characters, which are exclusively laborers and worker, facing and struggling against the powerful elements of the nature.

Sadequain was a social commentator. He crafted his message on canvas by the aid of powerful symbols and rich colors. Characteristically he would address particular situations through a series of paintings, which would follow a common theme and yet maintain their individuality. His symbols transformed with time as he adapted to the changing conditions.
During nineteen sixties he stayed in interior Sind in areas surrounded by desert where nothing could grow except cactus which would break through the rugged sandy ground. The sight of the wild cactus growing in scorching heat and surviving the harshest of conditions left a lasting impression on Sadequain. He adapted this symbol to depict labor, struggle, and persistence against natural elements of resistance and triumph of hard work.
Sadequain sketched numerous drawings titled Cobweb Series, Crow Series, Christ Series, Hope Series, and Sun Series during sixties, which were commentaries on prevailing social and cultural conditions. Sadequain saw cobwebs engulfing our society rendering it speechless and motionless. The Crow Series projected men as timid worshippers of scarecrows because they have lost self-respect and spirituality. Crows however are not intimidated and gang up on humanity in flocks and pick on lifeless humans. In the Christ Series Sadequain showed the crime being committed in front of the Christ while he was still alive on the Cross.
Contrary to man’s images portrayed in Cobweb or Crow Series of drawings, Sadequain glorified the hard work and labor of ordinary workingmen by showing them struggling with primitive tools during the stone age, developing agricultural land, discovering scientific breakthroughs, and exploring the universe. He sometime used Kufic script to form human images and carried that theme through vast canvases. One of the representative works of this genre is titled “The Last Supper,” which was awarded the prestigious Binnale de Paris award in France. Sadequain was awarded first prize in National Exhibition of Pakistan in early sixties. He was bestowed with several awards and medals in Pakistan as well as foreign counties. But he seldom attended the award ceremonies or accepted the award money.
Sadequain had commanding knowledge of literature. He wrote thousands of “Rubaiyats,” which he published in several books. These verses have been adjudged unique and critically acclaimed by literary elite. Like his paintings, the verses also address the topics of human nature, virtues and weaknesses of society.
During his life Sadequain exhibited his works on all continents. His exhibitions in foreign countries were sponsored at State levels and were attended by large audiences of all walks of life. A “faqir” at heart he gave away most of his paintings to friends and foes, and painted gigantic murals in public buildings at no cost. He declared the giveaways as gifts to the citizens of the cities where the public building were situated.
Sadequain has been covered in the print and electronic media extensively such as the TV series “Mojeeza-e-Fun” which highlighted his work in a masterful documentary. “The Holy Sinner” is a book published in 2003, cataloging a number of his paintings, which were exhibited at Mohatta Palace, Karachi during the same year. The massive book is one of the largest and heaviest ever published in Pakistan and it also has a collection of articles about Sadequain published previously in magazines and papers over the course of years.

The author is the founder of Sadequain Foundation, a non-profit organization to preserve and promote Sadequain.
© SADEQUAIN Foundation. All Rights Reserved
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