Ali Omar Ermes: Recent Works

10 December 2010 - 27 January 2011

Meem Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of an exhibition of the recent work of Ali Omar Ermes this December. Ali Omar, who is internationally renowned for his paintings based on Arabic literature and letterforms, exhibited his work at Meem in 2007 and we are delighted to present his second solo show at the gallery this winter.


The works exhibited at Meem Gallery date from 1993 – 2010 and display the ongoing inspiration Ali Omar Ermes derives from the aesthetic form and meaning of the Arabic letter. Like many of the paintings in the artist's oeuvre, this collection encourages viewers to engage with the powerful presence and etymology of the letter, using excerpts from poetry to reinforce the cultural significance of language. Poetic and literary references – in this collection he cites poets such as Ibrahim Al Bassary, Abi Tammam, Trafah Daiwan, Majani Al Adab, Al Qutami, Muhamed Ben Hani and Al Mutannabi – also highlight Ali Omar's interest in larger social and cultural issues and reflect the artist's interest in faith and spirituality.


Paintings such as Ghayatul Ghayn (2010) focus on the single Arabic letter, accompanied by poetic excerpts in smaller text. In this work, the importance of valuing the importance of endeavour and the pursuit of hard work is highlighted through the poetry of Ahmed Shawqi: 'It is not by wishful thinking that you accomplish your dreams, as life is a struggle to win favour and defeat negativities' (Daiwan and Moajam Al Abyaat Al Shahira).


Another work that will feature in the exhibition is Peace Means Justice (2010) which includes script from twenty-three different languages including Arabic, Latin, Sanskrit, Hebrew, Chinese, Javanese, English, French, Hausa, Swahili, Bengali, Urdu, Persian, Russian, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Swedish, Turkish, Kwanyama, German, Greek andJapanese. The text, translated from Arabic, states: 'Implement justice in the world and you gain peace on earth.'


The Seven Odes of Arabic poetry, Al Muallaqat Al Sabaa (Prize Poems), is the inspiration for two works that will be displayed at Meem, titled The Fifth Ode and The Seventh Ode (1993). These paintings are part of a seven part series that celebrate the Prize Poems, verses which are particularly relevant in Arabic literature.