Shafique Uddin


Shafique Uddin is a noted outsider artist, renowned for his densely worked images of figures set in the landscape. Born in 1962 in the village of Borobari in Bangladesh, Uddin came to England when he was just nine years old. He settled in East London, and continues to live there, but memories of village life and the countryside of Bangladesh retain an important place in his mind and continue to infuse his vision.


Uddin’s paintings – done in gouache on paper – shimmer with expressive colour. Their characteristic short, dynamic brushstrokes impart a compelling energy to each scene, while Uddin’s very personal interpretation of perspective adds an additional emotional force.  For all their apparent naivety these are works of real power – and real truth.


Uddin works spontaneously, with no preparatory sketches. His subject matter combines in a magical and carefree way imagery from his native Bangladesh with aspects of contemporary British life. Figures from rural farm villages are juxtaposed alongside Big Ben and double-decker buses. Memory and dream play an important role in conjuring up his luminous world of people, animals and scenery. His paintings are a reminder of the vulnerability of humans against nature. Paintings of flowers can have minuscule people set amongst the petals, and fierce Bangladeshi cats are depicted looming over tiny villagers.


Uddin had his first solo exhibition at Whitechapel Gallery in London when he was just seventeen years old. Since then his work has been exhibited widely, including at Tate Britain’s major 2005 exhibition, Outsider Art. Uddin’s work is held in the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, the Arts Council Collection, London, the Anthony Petullo Collection of Self-taught & Outsider Art at the Milwaukee Art Museum, and other significant public and private collections throughout Europe, Asia, and the United States.