Shahid Sajjad’s ability and originality were recognized in the work he exhibited at the Karachi Arts Council in 1964, but he desired to carve, to sculpt, forms. During a trip to Paris, his encounter with a single wood carving by Gauguin at the Louvre convinced him that this was what he must do. His determination led to his journey to the Rangamati forest in 1965, where he prepared fallen trees for carving, learning the qualities of the wood through trial and error.
His sculptures caused a stir in art circles in Pakistan, and his opportunity to work in bronze came later. A trip to japan in 1973 offered the opportunity he craved. There he studied with a Japanese master who initiated him into the processes of bronze casting, and Sajjad soon began to put his newly acquired knowledge to the test and completed a series of bronze reliefs. In 1996, he created a large, bronze relief for the Maritime Museum, Karachi, one of the most moving artworks one has encountered, titled Guardain of the Seas.
In 1980, Sajjad was commissioned by the Armoured Corps to conceptualise and create Cavalry Through the Ages. The opportunity to work on a large scale excited him, and all his creative energy and skill were devoted to the project that took two years to complete. It now stands in Nowshera. He was offered the President’s Pride of Performance Award which he politely refused.
Sajjad continued to explore avenues of expression, producing textured bronze pieces and wood carvings traced by fire. In 1994,he exhibited a collection of large, carved forms: My Primitives. The series was a reference to time spent in the Rangamati forest. In 1996, Sajjad was invited to represent Pakistan in an international sculpture event in Melbourne. That year, he was conferred a Fellowship of the National College of Art. His Profile and Biography is very interesting for creative persons.
In 2014, Sajjad received the KE Pride of Karachi Award; he passed away later that year. Sajjad was a genius with a simple philosophy: “Live every day to the full, then tomorrow is of no consequence.”
By Marjorie Husain.