UK-Based Libyan Calligrapher Ali Omar Ermes Passes Away

Published July 13th, 2021 - 11:21 GMT
Meemol-Maraagi-a (2010, and revisions in 2014). Acrylics on paper by Ali Omar Ermes
Meemol-Maraagi-a (2010, and revisions in 2014). Acrylics on paper by Ali Omar Ermes (Instagram)
Ali Omar Ermes was a great artist and a lovely man.
Renowned artist who worked in contemporary calligraphy, has died.

By Ewelina Lepionko

Internationally renowned Libyan artist and calligrapher Ali Omar Ermes, whose striking work can be found in collections across the world has died.

Ali Omar Ermes, born in 1945, was a Libyan artist and author active since the 1960s. His paintings make use of Arabic calligraphy, often superimposed on a rich-textured ground, and may incorporate fragments of Arabic or other poetry or prose.

His widely exhibited works explore the relationships between art, values, science, morals, life & death. Interwoven with excerpts from literature, mainly Arabic poetry, colors, forms, space & rhythm resulting in visual & musical wonders.

Often in his compositions, such as the piece included here, Ermes focuses on the single letter lam. With stunning colour and deft technique, Ermes infuses the letter with vibrant character and an unfolding visual narrative. Throughout this signature body of work, the words and text are always legible. Bridging the aesthetics of the visual form with linguistic meaning, Ermes shares the power of Islamic thought for the contemporary moment with his international audiences.

Ermes was born in Tripoli in Libya in 1945. He studied at the University of Plymouth School of Architecture and Design in Plymouth in south-west England, and after his graduation in 1970 returned to Libya. From 1981 he lived in the United Kingdom. Ermes participated in various Muslim community projects, written about many important issues and exhibited in some 60 to 70 exhibitions around the world.

Arts are an ongoing process of creativity based on theoretical knowledge and practical know-how. This is to expand mankind’s horizons in all areas of human endeavors.
My vision is to help recognize these powers of thought and to re-ignite our modern imagination in its individual and universal sense to be able to embrace all its characteristics, enjoy its fruits and refer to it as a major resource of hope and optimism for a better future for all humanity.
Ali Omar Ermes

He talked about the environmental crises and historical events in Arab and Libyan history, such as the Libyan resistance movements of the 1920s and 1930s. He wanted, within his artwork, the ability to explore the realm of Islamic calligraphy and secular painting.

Ali Omar Ermes was an inspiring visionary and a pioneer in Islamic arts and calligraphy.

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