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Today marks the 27th death anniversary of one of Pakistan’s most renowned artists, Syed Sadequain Ahmed Naqvi. Born in 1930, the artist has many prestigious awards to his name including Tamgha-e-Imtiaz, President’s Medal of Honor, and Sitara-e-Imtiaz. At the age of 31, he also won recognition at the prestigious Paris Biennale in 1961. His work renounced the promotion of calligraphy under the increasing Islamisation of the 1970s and 80s in the country. Contrarily he chose to reintroduce it along with the figure; the depiction of which even today is perceived as forbidden. Together the subject was remarkably bold and rendered him ‘The Holy Sinner’. Art historians have observed that it is Sadequain’s endearing exploration of calligraphy which through the lens of contemporary art marks an understanding of the visual integrity of text as image. An avid poet, his work translates the poetic, and the textual into the visual, suggesting he truly was ahead of his time.
” 0 [outwardly respectable and conformist] folk who are clothed, among you I am utterly [and publicly] naked, like the letter alif.” – Sadequain Naqsh