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February 11, 2011

Sadequain remembered


February 11, 2011

“God O! Poor Sadequain! Transform My Nights and Days of Life in Creative Work,” says one of the paintings displayed at the Gallerie Sadequain
The maestro who left this world on February 10, 1987 was buried in the Sakhi Hasan Graveyard in a ‘Takhti’ shape grave that he himself designed. Sadequain’s paintings at Frere Hall and other places are a testament to his deep passion for art, his genius and his hard work.
Gallerie Sadequain has sentimental value too for art lovers, since the maestro died while painting the ceiling mural at the Frere Hall. On August 30, 1990, the Gallerie Sadequain was inaugurated by the then Chairman of the Senate, Wasim Sajjad at the Frere Hall.
“Sadequain’s paintings are a commentary on human degradation,” said Dr. Syed Ali Wasif, a painter, psychiatrist and pupil of Sadequain “Once he painted a female sweeper when he was admitted to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) and handed the painting over to her,” Wasif recalled. “The female sweeper asked how she could return the gesture. Sadeqain replied that all he would like in return is a home-cooked meal. She cooked ‘moong ki daal’ and ‘roti’ and we went over to her place and enjoyed the meal.”
“As a psychiatrist, I would say Sadequain was a narcissist as he mostly painted himself,” said Wasif. “He was not a drawing-room artist. Sadequain was very passionate about his work and enjoyed the company of enthusiastic youngsters who were eager to learn about the art of painting.”
“People are not born into this world of their own free will, but since they are here, they should at least accomplish something,” Sadequain would say, according to Wasif. “Noted art critic and journalist Hameed Zaman told me that when Sadequain worked at Radio Pakistan, the office would often run short of paper as the maestro had made paintings on them. He was a great artist, but very simple and would give away his paintings to

whoever was sitting beside him,” Wasif remembers.
Unfortunately, today enthusiasts are becoming an endangered species and art has become commercialised. Terrorism in our region has also affected art in a big way, including Sadequain. For instance, the bomb blast that rocked the CID centre on November 13, last year also harmed the Gallerie Sadequain. A visit by this scribe to the heritage building revealed that nine doors, 50 window panes, two arches and its doors were damaged by the powerful blast. Thankfully, the huge murals painted by the maestro on the ceiling and the walls of the Frere Hall remained intact.

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