Sanki King

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Sanki King
Sanki King portrait.jpg
King in 2015
Born Abdullah Ahmed Khan
1990 (age 26–27)
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Nationality Pakistan
Known for Graffiti, Public art, Stenciling, Parkour, Bboying

Abdullah Ahmed Khan (Urdu: عبداللہ احمد خان‎, born 1990)[1] professionally known as Sanki (Urdu: سنکی/sʌnk/) or Sanki King is a self-taught Pakistani graffiti, calligraffiti and street artist, occasionally painting live as part of his exhibits, and collaborating with fashion designers featuring his artwork. Sanki has been called the pioneer of graffiti, calligraffiti, sneaker art, sticker art, b-boying and parkour in Pakistan.[1][2][3][4][5]

Early life[edit]

Sanki was born in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and raised in Karachi, Pakistan. His father worked at the Islamic Development Bank.[4] Both his art teachers and father encouraged him by purchasing pencils and colouring books so that he could paint freely, while his classmates completed copying exercises.[2][6] He was introduced to hip hop a year after his mother's death and was influenced by popular culture films such as You Got Served, and taught himself through internet videos. He was also interested in BMX, boxing and floor gymnastics.[4][7]


Practising hip hop since the age of ten, King also performs rap, beatboxing, parkour, b-boying, and DJing. While playing counter-strike as a teenager, another player described him as ‘Sanki’ [2] (eccentric, slightly mad) and he adopted it as his moniker. The artist claims it also means 'deep thinker'.[7] In 2008, Sanki started his career as a professional performing artist after being photographed by Tapu Javeri while freerunning in a park in Karachi, later performing at the launch of Style 360. From 2011, he became a professional artist, selling artwork and painting commissioned murals, and in March 2012 started his own personal studio where he currently works.[7]


Sanki next to his painting in a cafe in Zamzama, Karachi, June 2011
First art sticker created by Sanki King which features the founder of Pakistan, Mohammad Ali Jinnah

Known for his wide range of skills from simple bubble letters to figurative graffiti, calligraffiti, stencil work and 3D letters. Sanki did "live graffiti art" for the first time in Pakistan in July 2012 and in the same month launched his Sticker Art Movement through designs which feature Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan.[1] In December 2012, he was chosen as the judge for a nationwide graffiti competition spread across seven cities.[8] Some of his well-known works include Love Karachi on a bus and another, titled Flying Kiss which he painted outside the Arts Council of Pakistan in 2013. He painted the tallest graffiti in Pakistan in 2014 at the Valika Cricket Ground, University of Karachi.[5] His creations can be seen in the areas Nazimabad, North Nazimabad, Zamzama and Clifton outside the Sanat Gallery, painted at the opening of his very first solo exhibition, "You should know him by now", on the 4th of June 2016.[9][10]

King is the only Pakistani artist to hae been invited to two of the most well-known graffiti crews in the world; BMK - Beyond Mankind Krew (founded 1991, Queens, NYC) and Ex-Vandals - Experienced Vandals (founded 1979, Brooklyn). Ex-Vandals is one of the first graffiti crews in the world.[4][11] Sanki's work is featured in Nicholas Ganz’s book, Street Messages, published in April 2015.[7][11][12] He has been likened to the UK artist as the "Banksy of Pakistan" to which he says "“But I don’t want to be a second Banksy, I want to be the first Sanki!”.[2]

Custom-painting and fashion[edit]

Sanki King is known for his graffiti art designs for sneakers, using paint, marker pens and stencils. [1] He now runs his own company making custom-painted sneakers and apparel, as well as organizing dance and graffiti workshops.[11]

In 2014, Sanki worked for the first time with a local designer brand "Zeb-Tan". He collaborated with The House of Arsalan Iqbal for the collection ‘Desirably Distressed’, which came out in March 2015. He said, “In 2012, I painted a shutter in Arsalan Iqbal’s store. Since Iqbal travels a lot, he finds graffiti very inspiring. Then in May 2014 we worked on a collaborative venture for the next 10 months” [12][13] Another collection of footwear and jewellery incorporating his designs "Devolution Chic" was showcased a month later at the 8th PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week 2015.[14][15]

B-boying and parkour[edit]

King is one of the early leaders of b-boying and parkour in Pakistan. He began in 2008-09 by teaching a group of boys who later became the b-boying crew, Unknown Crew (UC), founded in 2010 in Karachi. They have performed for Jaag TV (previously known as CNBC Pakistan), HP Inc, Caltex, Play TV (Pakistan), Lux Style Awards and a number of music videos.[2][5][11]


Solo exhibitions[edit]

  • 2016: You Should Know Him By Now, Sanat Initiative Gallery, Karachi, Pakistan

Group exhibitions[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Sanki King lives and works in Karachi.[11]


His work is included in:

  • Paperazzi Magazine, Issue #81, March 22, 2015, page 54.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Qamar, Saadia (July 30, 2012), Sanki King’s graffiti knows no boundaries, The Express Tribune.
  2. ^ a b c d e Nasir Ahmad, Fouzia (December 22, 2013), Don't call me Banksy, DAWN.
  3. ^ Mustefa, Zab (July 22, 2012), Street Smart, Cover story, The Express Tribune.
  4. ^ a b c d Ahmed, Talha (January 22, 2014)'SANKI' COLORS IT ALL: THE FIRST GRAFFITI ARTIST OF PAKISTAN, Youlin Magazine.
  5. ^ a b c Varma, Nandini (May 25, 2014), Graffiti artist brings hip hop to the streets, Campus Diaries.
  6. ^ Husain, Marjorie (June 12, 2016), Portfolio: The writing on the wall, DAWN.
  7. ^ a b c d Subzwari, Shanzay (May, 2015), Sanki King: The Graffiti Artist Mastermind, ArtNow Magazine.
  8. ^ Staff Reporter (December 23, 2012), Tetra Pak Graffiti Competition, The Nation.
  9. ^ A Correspondent(June 9, 2016) Word on the street: Bringing graffiti art into mainstream, The Express Tribune.
  10. ^ Khan, Nimra (June 10, 2016), Pakistan's First Serious Graffiti Artist Sanki King Enters The Art World With His First Exhibit, DAWN.
  11. ^ a b c d e A Correspondent (June 30, 2015), Multi-talented Pakistani Street Artist 'Sanki King' excels nationally and achieves international recognition as well!, House of Pakistan.
  12. ^ a b Qamar, Saadia (April 17, 2015), From shadowy times to vivid walls, The Express Tribune.
  13. ^ a b Desirably Distressed, Issue 81, page 54. March 22, 2015, Paperazzi Magazine.
  14. ^ Press Release (April 22, 2015), PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week: Day-4 Journal, Pakistan Today.
  15. ^ Fayyaz, Yousaf (April 21, 2015), House of Arslan Iqbal At PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week 2015, Ebuzz Today.


External links[edit]