Monday, September 19, 2016




Meursault looking through the Window.. Oil on Canvas by Sadequain Naqvi.

SADEQUAIN ( 1923-1987 ) was an internationally acclaimed artist from Pakistan born and brought up in Amroha ( UP ) . He was influenced by Bombay Progressives prior to his moving to Pakistan. He lived in Paris for 6 years whereat he was also commissioned to draw scenes , images and graphics for a special Edition of Albert Camus’s Novel ' THE OUTSIDER ' originally L’Étranger in French. He painted these Characters and drew sketches of Meursault , Mary , Raymond and many more from the Novel. He Painted scenes as well . Scenes like Mary and Meursault on the beach or the scene of the Crime and Meursault looking from the window on a lazy Sunday. Sadequain’s illustrations highlight the emotional upheavals, ideological beliefs , and integrity that Camus has written about in " THE OUTSIDER' . The artist’s mastery at illustrating the subject matter of the book is so great that it made the French newspaper, Le Figaro, write as under :
“ Sadequain has perfectly created the impression of space, density, volume and the reality of matter; transforming an abstract thought into a material fact in plastic.”
I saw some illustrations /Paintings/Sketches from Sadequain's "The Outsider" series. Superb , Fantastic and speaking. I am awestruck since I have read the Novel more than 5 times and have become familiar with most of the characters and the scenes/ situations created by Camus.
                          ( "Study of Meursault’s Demon "done 1966 by Sadequain )

                                            ( Mary , Raymond and Meursault by Sadequain  )


                                                  ( Meursault at the Restaurant by sadequain  )
                                 ( Mary and Meursault on the Beach By sadequain )

                                                       ( Hope  By sadequain )
                                                  ( From the Outsider series  by Sadequain )

From THE OUTSIDER series, "Study of Meursault’s Demon "done 1966, is a highly impressive image created from mix of gouache, ink and graphite . The image is a representation of Meursault's character.Cut off from the world, Meursault is shown struggling with his desires and tormenting beliefs of Religion and truth.There is no background to this image that looks somewhat Demonic and full of anguish.
                                                         ( Left Sadequain at Paris )
                                                ( Self Portrait by Sadequain )

My friend Narinder safaya informs:

"In December 1981, Sadequain  held a show of his drawings, sketches some calligraphic  work all based on Couplets of Ghalib in  Rabindra bhawan NewDelhi . I went under some confusion about the  date of inauguration a day earlier and  he was himself mounting and arranging his paintings. I sat   with him the entire afternoon giving a helping hand. He sketched  one for me with a couplet.

“Chesm ko chayie har rang main wah hojana '

Also promised me one which I liked at the end of the show, unfortunately l Had to go to attend a very important case in Bombay till the end of his exhibition. I regret that I could not be there ."


                       ( Sketch done for  Narinder safaya by Sadequain in 1981 )

Sadequain’s Murals are also on display at AMU Aligarh and BHU Varanasi ( 70 by 12 Feet ) and Indian Institute of Geological Sciences . Sadequain in his lifetime is reported to have painted over 15,000 pieces that include gigantic murals, figurative art, drawings and calligraphies.He held successful Exhibitions at Varanasi, New Delhi, Hyderabad and Aligarh in 1981.

                                              ( A Mural at BHU by Sadequain )
For me , The Afterword to the great Novel ‘ THE OUTSIDER ‘ by Camus himself remains matchless to this day.It touches, moves and overwhelms the reader .Here is the Afterword;
 quote ..
“A long time ago, I summed up The Outsider in a sentence I realise is extremely paradoxical: `In our society any man who doesn't cry at his mother's funeral is liable to be condemned to death.' I simply meant that the hero of the book is condemned because he doesn't play the game. In this sense, he is an outsider to the society in which he lives, wandering on the fringe, on the outskirts of life, solitary and sensual. And for that reason, some readers have been tempted to regard him as a reject. But to get a more accurate picture of his character, or rather one which conforms more closely to his author's intentions, you must ask yourself in what way Meursault doesn't play the game. The answer is simple: he refuses to lie. Lying is not saying what isn't true. It is also, in fact, especially saying more than is true and, in case of the human heart, saying more than one feels. We all do it, every day, to make life simpler. But, contrary to appearances, Meursault doesn't want to make life simpler. He says what he is, he refuses to hide his feelings and society immediately feels threatened. For example, he is asked to say that he regrets his crime, in time-honoured fashion. He replies that he feels more annoyance about it than true regret. And it is this nuance that condemns him.
So for me Meursault is not a reject, but a poor and naked man, in love with a sun which leaves no shadows. Far from lacking all sensibility, he is driven by a tenacious and therefore profound passion, the passion for an absolute and for truth. The truth is as yet a negative one, a truth born of living and feeling, but without which no triumph over the self or over the world will ever be possible.
So one wouldn't be far wrong in seeing The Outsider as the story of a man who, without any heroic pretensions, agrees to die for the truth. I also once said, and again paradoxically, that I tried to make my character represent the only Christ that we deserve. It will be understood, after these explanations, that I said it without any intention of blasphemy but simply with the somewhat ironic affection that an artist has a right to feel towards the characters he has created.” Unquote

( Autar Mota )

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CHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
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  1. Thank you for your post. Most people in Pakistan and India or elsewhere are not even aware of Sadequain's works related to The Stranger by Albert Camus.

  2. My thanks to sadequainfoundation ..It was a real pleasure to know all this and then write about it.


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