In our country, there are limited modern calligraphy artists, but a combination of calligraphy and Islamic geometric patterns is rare. Ali Asad Naqvi is one of the rare artists’ communities who happen to work with patterns, calligraphy, shapes, and Turkish illumination. One can see a variety of compositions, styles and media in his artworks.
Naqvi was born in Lahore in 1986. He graduated from National College of Arts in Printmaking, but his love for geometric patterns and calligraphy led him to enroll into a diploma in Traditional Calligraphy and Turkish Illumination from the same institute. He is currently living and working in Lahore.
It can be said that his work is inspired by Leafs of Quran, illumination patterns on mosques. Most of the compositions give glimpses, as if it’s a Quran cover. The illuminated patterns are quite similar to actual ones. Geometric patterns used in his artworks are not complex, but what makes his artwork interesting is his style of composing patterns with helping elements.
Naqvi believes that he can enhance his skill and develop as an artist if he utilizes his traditional skills with contemporary thought. He needs to explore new methods, experiment more and create something better than his own previous work. For him an artist always competes with his self. He/She needs to be better than their previous self and that is the only way to bring out change in the bigger picture.
According to Naqvi “I have always been predisposed toward the technical side of art-making, and it has influenced my work to a great degree. My approach makes use of traditional arts and crafts in the contemporary setting and seeks to amalgamate traditional materials and skills with modern technologies like photography and computing, and in the process to find original expression”.
One can also see the amalgamation of East and West in his artworks. Compositions created will remind one of miniature traditional miniature paintings with illuminated borders, patterns framing the image. His color palette is limited specifically when working in graphite. The most interesting thing in his artworks is the layering of image on a single surface. In one of his artworks “Safha XXIII” a geometric floral pattern can be seen in white, but behind it is another flower like an impression and again a cubic pattern form quiet merged with the base color. This technique develops interest while viewing the artwork, finding hidden patterns and interpreting them. The floral imagery is composed off center frame with plain golden border, leaving space for border done in “mashq”.
The work of such artists should be encouraged as they are the living examples of thinking outside the box.