The recent demise of artist Tassaduq Sohail in October 2017 can be regarded as a major loss to the art fraternity. Tassaduq Sohail was considered as one of the best surrealist painters of Pakistan.
From his earlier days in Jalandhar to his time spent in London in his youth where he lived for almost 40 years and back to Pakistan, Sohail dedicated his life to the profession – one that dawned on him unplanned. Commencing his career as a writer of short stories, he favoured art over writing that brought him much fame, particularly among womenfolk. With a bit of training in art at London, he soon delved into this art. His first smudge of a female model was termed as a brilliant piece of artwork by his teacher much to his amazement. With no formal training at hand, Sohail’s work was far above the average and was regarded by many as a ‘masterpiece’.
Coupled with other such praise, Sohail soon started his passionate journey of art. His main forte remained his ability to express diverse sentiments with much ease. His work is to-date considered powerful and enigmatic that transforms the viewer to an enchanting world of fantasy that he created. Most of his work shed light on social and political injustices and repression.
Sohail also painted different forms of the female body, a passion he justifies by saying, ''A woman is the basis of all existence and had there been no woman none of us would be here''. A painting without a woman he would call bland.
In many of his paintings, one could see one striking element, referred by him as ‘Lali’, a bird. Perchance, this is his way of depicting freedom, peace and calmness. The landscapes his painted bore a prominent resemblance to 19th century English landscape painters, however with a weird quality that stands out above all.
Sohail believed in freedom of expression and did not have boundary while working on a canvas. For him life was just a pure experience and should be lived like that. His greatest achievements include Bonham Auction House London that led him to attain the status of an internationally acclaimed artist.
Being a loner, Sohail lived a solitary life. He once claimed that the best of his works stemmed from bouts of depression. The chronic bachelor is said to have taken inspiration from Marc Chagall.
During his last few days, he was shifted from Shifa International Hospital, Islamabad, to Karachi Civil Hospital at the ICU, where he passed away peacefully. He was 87 years of age with no family behind but a treasure trove of paintings for the art lovers.
Immersed in creativity with bold and unique style, Tassaduq's work will continue the legacy behind him and will continue to be regarded as an unmatched artist within the art scene of Pakistan.
‘Being an art patron, having known Tassaduq Sohail was an honour. A humble and modest man, his contributions to the world of art are unlimited. His work can be regarded as an iconic representation of a genius. It is one of the biggest losses that the art fraternity of Pakistan has to witness. Having his huge collection, each painting has a story to tell, a narrative that shouts for attention. I pray for his departed soul and pay my homage to his brilliant work.’
Nasir Javed, Crescent Art Gallery