Syed Sadequain Ahmed Naqvi

Sadequain was a world-renowned Pakistani Art legend. He was best known for his independent real creative art and novice trends in Islamic Calligraphy. His original superb themes and huge murals dwarf many and some are still regarded as matchless in the world. His international recognition was due to the introduction of new initiatives and trends in art and particularly poetic calligraphy which was almost nonexistent then.


  1. One of the finest painters and calligraphist produced by Pakistan, Sadequain was an amazing artist with artwork not only in paintings but also in huge murals which are present even today in places like Tarbela, State Bank of Pakistan and other national buildings.
  2. A simple person who created amazing work worth millions, Sadequain was a recipient of many awards and above all respect from art lovers around the world. He worked day and night and did not care much about the commercial aspect of his work. Sadequain created some beautiful artworks by doing calligraphy of holy verses of Quran and also of famed poetry of Iqbal, Faiz and Ghalib. He was commissioned by different countries to create artworks in different forms.
  3. Sadequain lives on years after his death and is subject of many academic pursuits by students of arts. Recently, a project titled The Holy Sinne: Sadequain chronicled and reproduced his work in great detail and is a befitting tribute to this great artist.
  4. An interesting aspect of Sadequain’s life is that he was a self-taught artist with not much formal training or education. Sadequain died at the age of 57 years and many of his work was lost or stolen and today when it resurfaces, it is worth millions.

Trails of the Lost Art of SADEQUAIN

By most estimates, Sadequain executed more than 15,000 pieces of artwork in his life murals, paintings, drawings, and calligraphies. But he carelessly gave most of them away to institutions and individuals. In many cases, people walked away with significant numbers when they found Sadequain in high spirits, and often they were simply stolen as it has been reported in newspapers. In its relentless pursuit to catalogue Sadequain’s paintings, murals, calligraphies, drawings, and poetry, the SADEQUAIN Foundation is planning a 12-volume catalogue, comprising of more than 1,000 pages of text and 1,800 images, by far the largest catalogue project on any artist of the country. To that end, this book is dedicated to chronicling the trail of significant pieces of Sadequain’s artwork that were ultimately tracked down in North America. The primary focus of this book is a large mural painted in 1966, titled ‘Pakistan’, which never saw a single sunrise in the country it was named after. It was ultimately found at a venue that did not match the one identified in Sadequain’s official biography. In other words, it did not belong where it was found. Another piece of work was a rare 1954 painting that was done in Quetta, which Sadequain gave as a gift to an American geologist working in Pakistan, and it later travelled from Quetta to Washington D.C. to North Carolina, to Kentucky, and finally to California. Similarly, the other pieces of artwork in this book have intriguing provenances and are duly recorded for the sake of art history.


Syed Sadequain Ahmed Naqvi, Tamgha-e-Imtiaz, Pride of Performance, Sitara-e-Imtiaz (Pakistani Awards), also often referred to as Sadequain Naqqash, was a world-renowned Pakistani artist, best known for his skills as a calligrapher and a painter. He is considered as one of the finest painters and calligraphers Pakistan has ever produced. Sadequain was responsible for the renaissance of Islamic calligraphy in Pakistan. 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.

The shadow of Sadequain

Sadequain, who passed away at the age of fifty-seven, is widely regarded as one of the most important Pakistani artists of the 20th century. He did not simply produce ordinary paintings to earn a living, but instead created monuments as a gift to humanity, as a means of expressing the fire in his soul. And he was praised for it; October 16, 1962, edition of the Parisian newspaper Le Figaro noted, 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. Another Parisian paper, Le Monde et La Vie, compared him to Picasso. This was a triumph indeed; the French had set aside Sadequain foreignness and accepted him as an artist comparable to the great master who spent most of his adult life in Paris. Not that this meant a great deal to Sadequain himself, who lived only for his art.

SADEQUAIN Foundation

The SADEQUAIN Foundation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to discover, preserve and promote the art of Sadequain. In pursuance of its goals, the Foundation has executed exhaustive research to locate hundreds of pieces of Sadequain’s artwork in places as far-flung as Singapore, Hong Kong, India, Middle East, Austria, Switzerland, France, England, USA, Canada, and more. The Foundation is poised to publish a 12 volume catalogue of Sadequain’s work, comprising of over 1,000 pages of text and over 2,000 selective images, it holds regular exhibitions of Sadequain’s works, and conducts seminars at museums and universities to raise awareness about Sadequain’s prodigious palette. The Foundation supports research on Sadequain’s life and work and provides authentication of artwork with history, analyses, and provenance. The SADEQUAIN Foundation USA has published fourteen books in the USA on Sadequain’s life and work, and three books in Pakistan

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