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Ermes, Ali Omarlocked

(b. Tripoli, Libya, 1945).
  • Sheila S. Blair
  •  and Jonathan M. Bloom

Libyan painter. He returned to Libya in 1970 after graduating from the Plymouth School of Architecture and Design in England. In 1974 he was appointed consultant to the Festival of Islam in London, and in 1981 he settled in England. He typically uses individual letter forms based on the maghribī style of script typical of North Africa, setting one or two large letters against a richly textured abstract ground with accompanying excerpts from Arabic and world literature that address social and moral issues. His works have been exhibited in more than 60 solo and group exhibitions and can be found in many major museums. Chairman of Muslim Cultural Heritage Center in London, he has also been involved with several other cultural and intellectual institutions there.


  • A. O. Ermes: Ali Omar Ermes: Art and Ideas: Works on Paper (exh. cat., Oxford, Ashmolean, 1992)
  • A. O. Ermeswith S. Rizvi: Reaching Out: Conversations on Islamic Art with Ali Omar Ermes (London, 1993)
  • A. O. Ermes: Invisibility of the Arab Community in Britain (London, 2002)
  • A. O. Ermeswith C. Pocock: Art Advisory Associates Present Ali Omar Ermes in Context (London, 2003)


  • M. Richardson: “The Alphabet of Ali Omar Ermes,” Arts and the Islamic World, 4/4 (1988), pp. 33–6
  • Word into Art: Artists of the Modern Middle East (exh. cat. by V. Porter; London, BM, 2006), no. 18