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Art auction to aid Syrian refugees


Philanthropy Age is delighted to be auctioning The Sixth Ode by internationally acclaimed Arabic artist Ali Omar Ermes at the Christie’s Middle East sale of Arabic, Iranian and Turkish art on Wednesday March 19th 2014. The charity proceeds of the special lot will be donated to the UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, to assist in its efforts to aid those affected by the ongoing crisis in Syria.

The painting is a depiction of the Sixth Ode from the seven highly respected Arabic poems known as the Muallaqat Al Sabaa. Considered to be the finest pieces of early Arabic poetry, each describes aspects of cultural, social and political life, as well as love, generosity, bravery and heroism: together the code of moral and ethical values of a society, and principles that can be passed from generation to generation. They highlight, and perfectly illustrate, the conscience of a nation.

Often when a poem was judged to be exceptional, it would be intricately and delicately embroidered on the finest silk cloth and hung at the Ka’ba as a sign of its importance.

In this Mojamhara, Ali Omar Ermes features the magnificent verse of the pre-Islamic warrior-poet Anter Ibn Shaddad, in which he describes his battles with the complexity of life and its many dimensions. Through several layers of opulent oranges, reds and violets, interspersed with text and letters offering a rich textural play, each of the 85 lines of the poem are expertly included in an array of multiple letters in varying size, the verse fusing together knowledge, experience and history, at the same time as illustrating and defining moral and ethical codes.

The sale will be held at 7pm (UAE) at Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel in Dubai. The auction will also be streamed live on Christies.com, allowing internet bids to be made alongside the usual telephone and in-person bidding. The Sixth Ode has a pre-sale estimate of $120,000-$180,000.

Viewing times

Viewing is open to the public at Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel on:

– Sunday 16 March: 2pm to 10pm
– Monday 17 March: 2pm to 10pm
– Tuesday 18 March: 10am to 1.30pm
– Wednesday 19 March: 10am to 12noon

For catalogues and further information, please telephone +971 4425 5647.

About the artist

Ali Omar Ermes is widely considered to be the world’s greatest living Arabic artist. A champion of the Arabic language, his inspired and inspiring work is steeped in academic rigour, and in Islamic thought and culture, and is always the result of painstaking research. His work is part of some of the most influential collections in the Islamic and art world, displayed in museums such as the British Museum, the Ashmolean in Oxford, and in the national galleries of Jordan and Malaysia.

Ali’s art is collected enthusiastically by royalty and continues to be widely commissioned by governments and ministries. His work is also featured in many influential private collections including those of the Sultanate of Oman, and the seat of UK government, 10 Downing Street.

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