Eqbal Mehdi


Eqbal Mehdi was born in Amroha India on 1st April 1946 to a family of writers, poets and filmmakers he grew up in a family intensely deep-rooted in art. Eqbal Mehdi paintings are available at Clifton Art Gallery.

His enormous body of work includes portraits, horses, Moorish street scenes and landscapes, local cultural events and figurative renditions executed in oils, pastels and pen and ink- a hallmark of Mehdi.

Greatly influenced by the realist artist, Eqbal learned to balance light and the skill required in the management of shadows. He reviewed the tradition of realism with his impeccable attention to detail. Apart from the sensitive pen and ink depictions of attractive young women Mehdi is known for his history paintings.

He was a Self-taught artist and always given to prolific production, the artist in him was adventurous enough to venture into other ambitious undertakings. This help to generate various successful exhibitions such ‘Woman’ & The ‘Girl with Jhumka’ series of paintings.

Painting as a realist, Mehdi handles his various subjects according to different definitions of Realism. In the most general sense the term is often applied to works, which, instead of choosing conventionally beautiful subjects, depict ugly things or at least scenes from the life of the poorer classes.

He paints beautiful subjects, especially when he works on maidens and portraits of the generals, rulers and ladies of high profile. Eqbal Mehdi was blessed with intuitive insight into the soul of his subject. Army and air force messes and offices and the war museum in Rawalpindi are full of portraits of war heroes and war scenes painted by Eqbal Mehdi. It is incredible but true that he has painted as many as five hundred portraits of Quaid-e-Azam.

Mehdi never used black color. Instead, he created dark tones with Prussian blue, burnt umber and raw sienna. This made his dark areas remain transparent. If comparisons are made, then Eqbal Mehdi stands close to Saeed Akhter a painter of horses and portraits and figurative works. Eqbal Mehdi excels in pen and ink and creates magic with effects of light and shadow. He also is a popular artist among masses after Sadequain and like him he has produced a tremendous body of work.

In Earlier times of his life He did not have enough room at his house for his paintings. Eqbal Mehdi threw about 350 drawings out of his house. This was retrieved by his brother.

Eqbal Mehdi started drawing and painting when he was only eight. His restless spirit pushed him out of Amroha. He landed in Karachi.

The first assignment he got as an artist was at Lail-o-Nehar in 1967. Eqbal Mehdi was requested to make illustrations for stories and serials published in the weekly magazine. His special assignment at Akhbar-e-Jehan. Subrang Digest was another monthly organ decorated with his teenagers wrapped up in romance. As early as 1969, he held a solo exhibition at Pakistan Arts Council Karachi in which a large number of paintings were displayed.

He joined Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Sabt-e-Hasan’s magazine, Lail wo Nehar, and also did illustrations for another magazine, Sab Rang, staying with the latter until 1974.

Government of Pakistan Recognition & Awards:
Recipient of the Pride of Performance award.