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Sabir Nazar

Sabir Nazar

Convener: Pakistan Union of Cartoonists.
Editorial Cartoonist
Express Tribune and The Friday Times




I started painting watercolor half a century ago, when my grade 1 class teacher appreciated my drawings. I learnt drawing and watercolors from my father, who thought it would keep me busy, but later was disappointed when I left architecture in my third year to pursue fine arts at NCA.

My mother used to tell me stories of Pandavs, Samson and Delila, Shireen Khusrau, Rustam and Sehrab. In my early childhood, adjacent to our house was a Valmiki temple, where I saw theatre performances of Kalidas’s Shakuntala and Ramayan.

Three elements; watercolors, storytelling and theatre are a part of my paintings Symbols made their way into my paintings during Zia’s period, when I tried to paint Sarmad Kashani in 1986. I realized painting the most dramatic and tragic moment of Sarmad asending the stairs of Jama mosque in Dehli couldn’t capture the existential crisis of Sarmad, nor did it explain Aurangzeb's motive to behead Sarmad. That was the moment I broke away completely from three dimensional works. I looked for meanings of objects and their transformation in a montage/placement or an image within an image. A cow, symbol of nourishment could be a symbol of motherland that sustains people. So when I placed a yellow leaf inside a cow’s milk udders, it became a symbol of barren land. This led me on to a journey of exploring archetypal images and symbols from our rich heritage.

A visit to a local dhaba in Lahore also changed my outlook towards painting. At  a dhaba I visited, a self-taught artist painted images and one particularly caught my attention, a Ranjha like figure, playing a flute across a river, while a young women was painted on the opposite side of that river. River is a symbol of division of the class difference between Ranjha and Heer. Flute is a symbol of true words…that captivates the soul of Heer. Panj peer (five senses) blessed him.


2020  Solo exhibition at Maati Gallery, Lahore.

2019  Participated in Punjab Artist Association exhibition at Alhambra Arts Centre, Lahore.

2014  Participated in Punjab Artist Association exhibition at Alhambra Arts Centre, Lahore.

2012  Participated in Punjab Artist Association exhibition at Alhambra Arts Centre, Lahore.

2011  Participated in 9th National exhibition at Alhambra Arts Centre, Lahore.

2006  Participated in 8th national exhibition at Alhambra Arts Centre, April, Lahore.

2005  Solo exhibition of water color paintings at Nairang Galleries, November, Lahore.

2005  Participated in "Aydin Vakfi" international cartoon exhibition, Istanbul, Turkey.

2000  Exhibition of watercolor paintings at Canvas gallery, Karachi.

1995  Solo show, of paintings at Lahore Art Gallery, Lahore.

1995  Sculpture of three horses for a public square in Defense Society, Lahore.


2019 Painting award at the 16th National Exhibition by the Punjab Artist Association at Alhambra Arts Centre in Lahore.

Civic Courage Award for 'Courageous Communication' by Centre for Civic Education Pakistan.

2009  Editor’s pick award by Himal Southasian in Kathmandu in Nepal.

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