Feb 01, 2020
2019 December
2019 post summer
NCA, Jan 2019'
Wedding nights
Lahore, PK
NCA, Lahore
Ali Asad Naqvi
Lyon, FR
Feb 01, 2020
2019 December
2019 post summer
NCA, Jan 2019'
Wedding nights
Lahore, PK
NCA, Lahore
Ali Asad Naqvi
Lyon, FR



Ali Asad Naqvi is a practicing visual artist, born and living in Lahore, Pakistan. He works in several mediums and employs both traditional craft-making skills as well as contemporary techniques. His work looks to explore new ways of employing traditional methods in the contemporary art-making practice. Naqvi holds a BFA in Printmaking from the National College of Arts (NCA), Lahore. He also holds a Diploma in Traditional Calligraphy & Turkish Illumination from the same institute.


Artist Statement

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.

July, 2018: A Tinge of Space, Group show at Studio Seven, Karachi, PK

Feb, 2018: National Calligraphy Exhibition, Serena Hotel, Islamabad, PK

2017: Lines in the Sand - Imago Mundi, Collection of Luciano Benetton, Treviso, IT

Sept, 2015: Calligraphic Art Group show, Chawkandi Art Gallery, Karachi, PK

​Nov, 2014: Grains of Sand at Satrang Art Gallery, Islamabad, PK

2014: Mussawir Art Gallery at Art Fair Dubai, UAE

2014: Resonating Script II at Mussawir Art Gallery, Dubai, UAE

2014: All Quoz Street Night Art with Mussawir Gallery, Dubai, UAE

Jun, 02, 2014: Drawings Exposition at Taseer Art Gallery, Lahore, PK

Jul, 2013: Modern Life at Taseer Art Gallery, Lahore, PK 

Apr, 2013: Not Everyone Talks: Satrang Art Gallery, Islamabad, PK

2013: Resonating Script at Mussawir Art Gallery, Dubai, UAE

Dec, 2012: Concinnity Solo at Taseer Art Gallery, Lahore, PK

Aug, 2012: Noon WalQalam at Satrang Art Gallery, Islamabad, PK

2012: The Artist’s Collection at Mussawir Art Gallery, Dubai, UAE

2012: Summer Artfest 2012 at IVS Gallery, Karachi, PK

2012: Grand Opening of Hamail Art Galleries in Dubai, UAE

2012: 8th Young Artist Exhibit at Alhamra Art Gallery, Lahore, PK

2012: The Indo Pak Expo, New Delhi, IN

2012: India Art Fair, New Delhi, IN

2011: Private Viewing at The Drawing Room Gallery, Dubai, UAE

Dec, 2011: Conch Curve Creation at Taseer Art Gallery, Lahore, PK

Sept, 2011: Not just another group show' at Taseer Art Gallery, Lahore, PK

Mar, 2011: Tri-annual Young Artists Exhibit at Nairang Gallery, Lahore, PK

Feb, 2011: Find Me Human at Karachi School of Art Gallery, Karachi, PK

Jan 2011: NCA Thesis 2010' at National College of Arts, Lahore, PK

2010: New-s Item, 6th annual exhibit at Alhamhra Arts Council, Lahore, PK

Sept, 2009: One Day Review at Ecole de Beaux Arts, Paris, FR

2008: Culture and Democracy at Zahoor ul Akhlaq Gallery, Lahore, PK 

2007: Calligraphy Diploma Exhibit at Lahore City Heritage Museum, Lahore, PK

2007: The Generation Next at Alhamra Arts Council, Lahore, PK


2009: National College of Arts, Lahore exchange program with

École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris, FR 


2005-2010: Attended National College of Arts, Lahore from 2005-2010 for Bachelor's program, majored in Printmaking, Fine Arts.

2007: Diploma in Traditional Calligraphy & Illumination while on a year's leave from same college

2003-4: A level Art & Design, University College Lahore, PK

2003-4: Attended lectures by RM Naeem for Drawing practice

2000-2: O levels, Science subjects

1993-1999: Class 2 - 8 - English Language - Bloomfield Hall School, Lahore, PK

Simugh is my Inspiration

Graphic Artist nourished by tradition, ancient legends and cultures. Naqvi works with a broad cultural perspective. His works reflect the perspective of many cultures, not only his own country.

- Harun Karaburç

(Yeni Şafak - National Turkey Paper) - September, 2015'

(full article)

Ali Asad Naqvi exploring Turkish Illumination

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 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.

It can be said that Leafs of Quran inspire his work, Illumination patterns on mosques. Most of the compositions give glimpses as if it is 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. They need to be better than their pervious self and that is the only way to bring out change in the bigger picture.

One can also see the amalgamation of East and West in his artworks. Compositions created will remind one of 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 artwork is the layering of image on single surface. In one of his artworks ‘Safha XXIII’ a geometric floral pattern can be seen in while, but behind it is another flower like an impression and again a cubic pattern form merged with the base color. This technique develops interest while viewing the artworks, 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 style’.

The work of such artists should be encouraged, as they are living examples of thinking outside the box.

- Fariha Rashid

(Nigaah Art & Culture from South Asia Vol.1 Seventy Eight) - July, 2018'

Young Calligrapher & Craftsman: Ali Asad Naqvi

- Khurshid Gohar Qalam (Phool Urdu mag) - February, 2018'


Calligraphy group show

Ali Asad is creative and unafraid to express his love for calligraphy in his own unique style. His work is bold and pops from the canvas. Many artists in the contemporary world like to take inspiration from the heritage of calligraphy. Subtle geometric patterns and shapes can also be seen in Ali's work. As a tribute to the Arabic text he makes use of one of God's most beautiful and unique animal, the bird to decorate his canvas and bring out the text. He makes use of strong lines, dark and deep colours and carefully thought out brushstrokes.

- Nigaah Art & Culture from South Asia - Vol.1 Fifty One, 2015'


Calligraphic Art - Group Show at Chawkandi Art

- Nageen Shaikh -  September, 2015'

(full article)


Ancient Style, Young Technique

Pakistani artist Ali Asad Naqvi combines the ever-changing styles of traditional arts with contemporary techniques. Inspired by Ottoman calligraphers and Muslim saint and mystic Mevlana Celâleddin Rumi, the artist uses geometrical ornamentations, design elements and animal forms. One can trace combinations of the arts of ornamentation, miniatures and calligraphy. Ali Asad Naqvi has said that he’s trying to create a link between modern techniques such as photography and traditional arts in his works.

- Skylife (Turkish Airlines) - July, 2015'



Grains of Sand: A Spiritual journey

...with a series of scratched images on photo paper. His intricate patterns titled Earth X, XI and XII portray spiritual symbolism and it is undeniable that he has employed traditional design in a customary yet contemporary fashion. Naqvi’s aniconic images seem interlaced and embody a refusal to strictly adhere to the rules of geometry. A sense of freedom comes forth and the images offer a possibility of growth in terms of their ornamentation. 

- Shireen Ikram (ArtNow Pakistan) - November, 2014'


Modern Life

Ali Asad Naqvi uses a variety of techniques across multiple surfaces to create four pieces, each of which is titled Safha with a respective Latin numerical suffix. Not unlike the titling of the piece, Naqvi creates images from two sets of vocabulary each of which he deems is representative respectively of the ‘East’ and the ‘West’. Before questioning the idea of representation, it is pertinent perhaps to question this perfunctory divide between ‘East’ and ‘West’ itself, particularly from an urban center in this part of the world. Although the intention of the artist is to amalgamate the two, the ‘East or West’ question is a meaningless tautology unless one is navigating at sea with a compass. Similarly, Naqvi’s spirituality vs. materialism claim, in addition to being a somewhat false dichotomy since the two may not be direct polar opposites at all, is a very charged political construct: the Occident births the Orient and vice-versa. This information is important because Naqvi’s expression seems to sanctify the clash of civilizations narrative, the repercussions of which allocate responsibility to assumptions of inherent, unalterable trends rather than policy. The recent coining of the term ‘Muslim rage’ by Newsweek is a linguistic reflection of these repercussions.
Technically, Naqvi’s work is an interesting take on the forms of both printed text and calligraphy, particularly in the translations of the former into a handmade mark and the latter into premeditated bounded shapes. Moreover, the use of Lorem ipsum (filler text), infuses Naqvi’s work with a tension between the signifier and the signified which calls into focus our attempts at locating meaning within the two.
- Madyha Leghari (ArtNow Pakistan) - July, 2013'

(full article)

One hundred views of solitude 

The work of Naqvi suggests how the idea of modernity is linked with progress and hence with the West. In his works on paper, all titled Safha, one can find the silhouette of a steam engine amid a format that reminds of traditional manuscript paper. Urdu letters and Roman script are placed at random in these works alluding to the presence of two cultures or worlds in our milieu.

- Quddus Mirza (The News on Sunday) - July, 2013'

(full article)


A modern life 

The combination of artworks presented at the exhibition appears to be a recipe of selling an old body in new clothes. Calligraphy presented in the most modern of ways is a job nicely done, however the ideas behind the works are lost somewhere in the attempt to combine the classic with the modern.

Ali Asad Naqvi, explaining his own work said it “combines East and West” – namely, the spiritual realm of the first and the material realm of the second - to give “the best of both worlds.” In particular, Naqvi used mixed media such as copper leaf and acrylics to bring together the ancient art of calligraphy and modern images of, for example, the industrial revolution.

- Meher Ali (Pakistan Today) - July 2013'

(full article)

Not everyone talks

Amin Gulgee and Ali Asad Naqvi are both deeply aware of the fact that conversations grow out of words and languages, and their work utilizes words and text to create vastly different bodies of work.
Like Gulgee, Naqvi also explores the interplay between languages and script. His pieces combine zoomorphic calligraphy, which is formed through animal imagery, with collections of Roman letters.
​- Zahra Khan (Art Divvy) - April, 2013'

Noon Wal Qalam' showcases powerful calligraphic art

- Sehrish Ali (The Express Tribune) - August, 2012'

(full article)


For art's sake: Calligraphy that explores civilizations​

As many as 24 calligraphy pieces by Ali Asad Naqvi at the Drawing Room Art Gallery trace roots of Islamic and Western civilizations. The work combines words of ancient Latin and Arabic texts.
This is the first solo show by Naqvi. He says: “I wanted to show my inclination towards merging the scripts – Latin and Arabic – that form the basis of Western and Islamic civilizations.”
The Islamic texts have been taken from 16th century Turkish writings. Traditional symbols and motifs of the two cultures have been included.
These include the lion (Mughal era and English flag of the 11th century), lotus (in Mughal-era Quranic manuscripts), floral patterns (in inlays and frescos) and steam engine (associated with industrial revolution).
“Both languages have historically been written on Safha (page). That’s why I have used the format. I just sought to present these symbols in a new, a more interactive, manner,” he said. “It is for this reason that the letters have been merged with symbols, popular in both cultures,” he said.
For most pieces, Naqvi has incorporated metallic texture through heavy use of silver, gold and bronze leaves. Turquoise and shades of gray are frequent. Colour pencils, graphite and acrylics have also been used.
“Being a print-making student, one of the main challenges for me is to be innovative while keeping the number of colours used down,” he said.

- Correspondent (The Express Tribune) - December, 2012'

(full article)

Exhibition highlights calligraphy grandeur

The latest art exhibition in capital city can undoubtedly be termed as a collection of the finest calligraphic masterworks of Pakistani artists, aptly portraying the calibre of the local artists in world’s oldest art forms.

Entering the Gallery was like stepping into a creative wonderland as vibrant and energetic as the name of the gallery itself - Satrang – signifying the seven colors of the rainbow. Each of the artists has a distinct signature in art world. 

- Sana Jamal (Pakistan Observer) - August, 2012'

Possibilities of calligraphy​

Ali Asad Naqvi deals with the practice of zoomorphic calligrams in an unusual scheme. There has been a convention to compose letters in such a way that a word or line, along with revealing its meaning, shows the shape of an animal, flower or some other object. The Muslim artists have been using this technique to express a diversity of forms and complexity of images but Naqvi, in his work, not only continues the convention but has critiqued it. On first glance, his pastels on paper seem to be repeating the style but in reality the forms of animals (like horse) or a bird are just outlines on the text underneath.

This illusion of tradition is the main content of Ali Asad Naqvi’s work; it communicates how following the tradition can be a deceptive pursuit as well as suggests possibilities which can be traditional but may deviate from it too.
- Quddus Mirza (The News on Sunday) - August, 2012'


Creative collaborations: three artists, one canvas

​A collaborative show by artists Ali Asad, Dua Abbas and Wardha Shabbir, Conch Curve Creation, opened on Wednesday at the Drawing Room Art Gallery. The three artists worked together on each piece.
​Acrylic, gold leaf, tea wash, charcoal, poster paint and digital print are the mediums used to create the collection.​
​“This is the beginning of something very new and beautiful and has an illustrative story book sort of feel to it,” said model Aaminah Haq. “This is a new direction for art. I find tremendous aesthetic pleasure in the works”​
​Ali Asad contributed the motifs and the base while Wardha Shabbir has shown her skill in organic forms. Dua Abbas was behind the portraits.​
- Momina Sibtain (The Express Tribune) - December, 2011'

(full article)

Art mart: A different beat

Naqvi's mixed media drawings on Somerset paper are a sensitive amalgam of tradition and a fresh approach to pattern making. The source of inspiration is the illuminated pages of the Holy Quran, but there is a deliberate omission of calligraphy and an emphasis on the timeless beauty of geometrical motifs. The eight works titled, 'Safha' or page, are similar in character and yet each 'Safha' has its own unique individuality, both in terms of medium and content.​
- Saira Dar (DAWN), September, 2011'


(full article)

​A digital set of work was also displayed. Syed Ali Asad Naqvi, a printmaking major from NCA, used the relatively new medium of digital print and video.​
- Ammar Shahbazi (The News on Sunday)​ - July, 2011'

Identity process

Three artists deviate from the individual-centric art world to make collaborative drawings at Taseer Art Gallery, Lahore.

Moving from the ‘arrogant I’ to the ‘humble we’, three artists collaborated to create works which are being shown in the exhibition ‘Conch Curve Creation’ from Dec 14-26, 2011, at the Drawing Room Art Gallery Lahore. Dua Abbas, Wardha Shabbir and Ali Asad Naqvi jointly worked on 13 drawings on paper; one among the three initiated the imagery which was extended by the two.

The three artists have recently graduated from the National College of Arts, and possess their distinct styles and vocabulary.

While looking at these joint endeavors, it was easy to detect the hand of the maker with each image, line and stroke especially if one was familiar with their degree shows. Thus the sensitively rendered female figures with suggestions of seascape were unmistakably by Dua Abbas, the intricate flora was by Wardha Shabbir and geometric patterns were put by Ali Naqvi.
- Quddus Mirza (The News on Sunday)​ - November, 2011'

(full article)