LAHORE - Innate passion for calligraphy was perhaps not enough for calligraph artist Asghar Ali. There was craze to excel in the centuries old art of the masters. But in the one-decade quest Ali has now achieved the milestone of getting recognition as an innovative artist in the realm of the world of art. His paintings now adorn the halls of top personalities and public buildings including the Prime Minister's House in Islamabad. The inner solace and harmony that comes with achievement is visible in his calligraph art compositions.   Ali remained official naqqash (calligraphy and designing) at Masjid-e-Nabwi for seven years and did calligraphic designing at Madina-al-Munawara for eight years. His love for calligraphy grew when he worked there under the guidance of master calligrapher Shafiquzaman. He returned in 1998 and devoted himself solely to excelling in calligraph art. It is now 16 years since he took up painting landscapes and calligraphy. He has to his credit participation in the group shows across the world and also solo shows at top galleries across the country. Ali's compositions on canvas are a blend of the traditional and contemporary art. He uses oil and acrylic for his artworks and also makes himself special paint by mixing different pigments. He sometimes uses golden and silver leaves for heightened impact. He uses earthy tones of different colours and there is prominence of blue colour in many compositions. The calligraphic work in the composition appears in different layers and at times gives the impression of one whole image say as that of a city, mosque, historical building or object. Even though he uses earthy tones but the use of the dark and light basic technique makes the composition striking or eye catching. It also brings in the impact of giving more depth to the artwork. This technique sometime ago was adopted by calligraph artists and they called it calli-painting.   Ali talking to The Nation on Friday said all those wishing to take up calligraph art should first of all learn the traditional calligraphy. "The young artists must learn the rules of calligraphy. One should only try to experiment when he had done much work according to rules. At a very later stage when one has mastered the art one should go for experimentation and innovation in the field," he said. Ali stressed on introducing calligraphy as a subject at school and college level. "Everywhere in the world calligraphy is considered as a national treasure and children are encouraged to learn calligraphy so that they are acquainted with their roots. "The Japanese, Korean and Chinese all treasure their traditional calligraphy. It is unfortunate that mostly people do not encourage their children to learn calligraphy. The government should first of all introduce it as a compulsory subject from grade 1 to at least grade 5 level in the public sector schools," Ali was of the view. Ali said there was renewal of interest in calligraphy among the young generation. "It is heartening to see the interest in youth. But they do not have many opportunities of learning the art," he regretted. He lamented that some junior artists copied the work of senior artists and sell them to people individually or through art shops and galleries. "It is unfortunate that artworks of leading artists is copied and openly sold. My paintings too have been copied. But a good art lover will always find the difference between a fake and real painting," Ali was of the view.