Sadequain is widely regarded as one of the most important Pakistani artists of the 20th century whose oeuvre includes works on canvas and paper, calligraphy, poetry as well as gigantic murals, such as those at the Lahore museum, The State Bank in Karachi, and a gigantic 200ft long work in the power-house at the Mangla dam.
Arguably one of the most important periods in the artist’s life was the time he spent in Paris on the invitation of the International Association of Plastic Arts from December 1960 until early 1967. Whilst in France Sadequain completed a great many works that were left behind when he travelled to Pakistan with his father in ’67, a trip from which, for reasons unknown, he never returned. Whilst in Paris Sadequain gained numerous accolades and in 1964 was compared directly to Picasso by Le Monde et La Vie.
Sadequain’s work of the 1960s was often laden with symbolism and can be categorised into various different series, the Cactus series being one of the most important in the development of the artists career due to its influence on his later work. Whilst in Paris Sadequain extensively explored the Cactus series, depicting the subject using a variety of media and with varying symbolic intentions. He was fascinated by the plants ability to thrive in hostile environments and often combined depictions of sharp cactai with those of human figures, a contradiction which in his words “symbolised the triumph of life over environment”.