Sabia the Artist (JJ Photo/Khalid Jaleel)
Sabia the Artist (JJ Photo/Khalid Jaleel)

M.F. Hussain Gallery Exhibits an Art Collection on Ghalib by Sabia

To mark the birth anniversary of Mirza Assadullah Khan Ghalib on Dec 27, Jamia’s M.F. Hussain Gallery showcased a two day exhibit titled, “Ghalib Revisited,” comprising a collection of paintings on Ghalib by a renowned Indian artist named Sabia.

About the Artist

Sabia the Artist (Photo: JJ/Khalid Jaleel)


Sabia’s work has been exhibited in many art galleries all over India and internationally. And through out her career, she has won many awards and scholarships in recognition of her exceptional work.

Her crowning moment, however, came in 2001, when she won the Lalit Kala Akademi Ratna Award, an honor bestowed on the most eminent artists for their work in the field of visual arts. It is awarded by the Lalit Kala Akademi, India’s National Academy of Art, and is the highest honor conferred to an artist by the Government of India in the field of visual arts.

But what makes Sabia really special to us Jamia students, is the fact that she is a Jamia alumna. She graduated from Jamia’s Master of Fine Arts program in 1993.

Although Sabia’s name may imply an Italian heritage, she, however, is as Indian as they come. In fact, she was born and lives in the old city of Shajahanabad. In an interview with Sabia, she tells us that her name is actually Sabiha, but it got misspelled as Sabia on her school records, which is how she has been spelling it ever since.

A clerical error which seems to have worked in her favor. She became a famous painter, and I suppose, having an Italian sounding name in the field of fine arts only adds to your credibility as a painter.

About Her Work

'Ghalib Revisited' Exhibit (Photo: JJ/Khalid Jaleel)

To truly describe and appreciate Sabia’s collection of  work on display at the art gallery, I suppose one would have to be an art critic. However, it would be remiss of me if I were not to comment.

At first sight, you are overwhelmed by the sheer size of her collection. There must have been about 50 paintings, big and small, filling the entire gallery space. And the second thing that strikes you is the enormousness of the paintings. Some are almost life size.

To give you an example, the center piece of her collection titled, “Hua hai shaih ka Musahib,” is 305 cm by 213 cm in dimension. That is about the size of a wall. Refer to the accompanying pictures with this article to know what I’m talking about.

In addition, you’ll be astounded to learn that it took Sabia about 5 years to create her collection on Ghalib.

And then the most prominent features are the bright yet soothing colors that she uses in almost all her paintings. It’s like a festival of colors on your visual cortex.

Now I’m not sure if it is intentional or just a coincidence, but her painting style seems to be from the age she is depicting her paintings in. I have seen a few paintings from the Mughal times, and I have to say, they look a lot alike. But then again, I’m no expert.

Not to belabor the point, let me just say, Sabia’s work is truly beautiful. And if the price tag is any indicator of value for a piece of art, then you’ll be pleasantly surprised to know that a typical painting by Sabia goes for the price of 6 to 7 lacs.

For More Information

Sabia has a studio at the Lalit Kala Akademi in East of Kailash, New Delhi. She can also be reached by phone at +91-9810766756.

For more information on the artist, view the linked scanned document: Information on Sabia.

Scenes from the Event

1. Pictures (Link to Flickr Album for more pictures.)

*Click on image to enlarge

2. Video (Link to Video)
Watch an interview with the artist.

About Khalid Jaleel

Khalid Jaleel is a PhD student in the Department of Political Science. He can be reached via email at: khalidj [at] jamiajournal.com

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3 comments

  1. Thank you khalid for this wonderful briefing.Being a Ghalib fan,absolutely lovable it was to see this revisit to Ghalib’s era.wish if I could have witnessed it in person.

  2. I cannot thank you enough for putting up Sabia’s work and interview. I have been looking for her for years… Looking forward to her next exhibit and would like to see all her past work too.
    Bahut shukriya…

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