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CRUCIFIXION: Sadequain’s painting sets record for Pakistani art in UK

LONDON: Pakistan’s most admired and versatile painter, calligrapher Sadequain’s art work ‘Crucifixion’ made history for Pakistani art when it was sold a record breaking £118,750 (around 16 million Pakistani rupees) The painting was initially estimated of around £60,000-90,000.
A bidder anonymously offered top price for the artwork of legendary Pakistani artist Sadequain, whose work has won worldwide acclaim for its depth and meaning. To mark Pakistan’s 70th Independence Day, international auction house, Bonhams, dedicated its sale entirely to Pakistani art and sourced work of 21 Pakistani artists.
Tahmina Ghaffar, Bonhams Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art Specialist, commented while speaking to Geo News: “As proud supporters of Pakistani art for numerous years, Bonhams is delighted with the results achieved at our first Art of Pakistan sale. The enthusiastic bidding in the room, on the phone and online for the top lots demonstrates the increasing demand for, and recognition of, Pakistani art by serious collectors. The Sadequain sold for £118,750; this is a world record price for the artist in Pounds.
“Pakistani heritage is far reaching and untethered. Conceived as a country of refuge and sanctuary, with new residents came new languages, foods and customs. Pakistan’s art is complex and challenging and the country has carved its own artistic identity.”
Seemah Niaz, founder of Unicorn Art Gallery, told this scribe that Sadequain is amongst the greatest of Pakistani artists. “He won critical acclaim at the global level. He was awarded the 'Laureate de Paris' at the France Biennale in 1961. He produced a number of cross-hatched self-portraits such as ‘Crucifixion’ and showed something to the world which was not seen before. He was a Sufi who didn’t want money in his life; he gave away his works as gifts to the people he liked or those who were kind to him. He was not impressed by anyone; he was a conceptual artist who has his own unique originality and technique.”
Seemah Niaz said that the record sale of Sadequain’s work was a “landmark” figure of a Pakistani artist. “It’s a huge figure in the sense that Indian middle class and industrialists support their artists but that doesn’t happen in Pakistan. Indian artist MF Husain regarded him with great reverence and when Sadequain visited India on occasions MF Husain met him in Amrita and showered his praises on Sadequain.
Seemah Niaz also said there is a need in Pakistan to value the artists and their work, and declare it as national treasure. She called on the government to fix a portion of the annual budget for the promotion of arts in Pakistan.
Other prominent Pakistani artists whose work was sold at the auction included: Ustad Allah Bux, Eqbal Mehdi, A.Q. Arif, Abdur Rahman Chughtai, Waseem Ahmed, Shazia Sikander, Kiran Saeed, Attiya Shaukat, Mudassar Manzoor, Sadequain, Anwar Jalal Shemza, Anna Molka Ahmed, Ahmed Parvez, Ali Imam, Bashir Mirza, Mansoor Rahi, Hajra Zuberi, Lubna Latif Agha, Mansur Aye, Tassaduq Sohail and Ismail Gulgee.

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