Islamic calligrapher and muralist Syed Sadequain Ahmed Naqvi has been honoured by Google on his 87th birthday with a doodle.
Sadequain was born on June 30, 1923 in Amroha in present day Uttar Pradesh and pre-independence United Provinces in a family of Qur’an scribes. After graduating from Agra University in 1948, Sadequain went on to live in Pakistan and became one of its most celebrated artists of world renown. He brought about a renaissance in Islamic calligraphy, shaped it with a modernist approach and made it into a mainstream art form.
He “stroked new life into the centuries-old art of Islamic calligraphy, turning words into vibrantly detailed expressionist paintings”, according to Google. Popularly known as Sadequain Naqqash, in his lifetime, he is said to have painted more than 15,000 pieces of gigantic murals, canvases, innovative calligraphic works and drawings. He passed away on February 10, 1987 in Karachi at the age of 57.
Sadequain’s prolific works still adorn walls of public buildings in Pakistan and India such as the Lahore museum, Frere Hall in Karachi, Punjab University (Pakistan), Aligarh Muslim University, Banaras Hindu University and Indian Institute of Islamic Studies in Delhi to name a few. He was known to give away his paintings for free upon commissions from heads of state. His murals frequently paid homage to the socio-economic struggles of the working class, bounties of mother earth and hope for the future.