Over 50 Years of Art | Welcome to Ali Omar Ermes

CONTRADICTIONS OF JOY

CONTRADICTIONS OF JOY

The abstract imagery of the work is complemented by a poetical quip that the melody of a songbird while being sweet can also be fatally overwhelming – in other words, in joy, there is sorrow too.

Original production date 1993
Image Size 152 cm x 122 cm
Materials Acrylic on paper, mounted on canvas
Location of Original The National Museum of African Art, The Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC






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IMPERATIVES OF THE LETTER LAM
IMPERATIVES OF THE LETTER LAM

The central motif of this work is the Arabic letter Laam, displaying the powerful presence of this character which is found in words such as Lawiah, Lawhat, and Labeeb.

Poetic excerpts within this piece are by Tarafah and articulate the idea that in time we all learn through experience and that nothing can be hidden forever:
“In time, day and night, all will be revealed to you of what you do not now know, and in time someone will come with news to all who are without it.”

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THE SEVENTH ODE
THE SEVENTH ODE

The Seventh Ode is one of a group of seven paintings that celebrate the Seven Odes of Arabic poetry, Al Muallaqat As Sabaa or Prize Poems, which enjoy a special place in Arabic literature due to their power of eloquence and historic relevance.

When a poem was judged to be exceptional, it was embroidered in gold on silk cloth and hung on the Kaaba as a sign of general acclaim. Over the years, the Prize Poems which were thus hung at the Kaaba assumed a universal context and appeal.

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KAF - THE POWER OF EXPRESSION
KAF - THE POWER OF EXPRESSION

The work of the Libyan artist, Ali Omar Ermes, Letter Kaf: The Power of Expression, represents a dramatic departure in its scale, treatment, and intent. Measuring 130 cm x 95 cm, the painting is dominated by the form of a single letter of the Arabic alphabet, the letter ‘kaf’ or ‘k’, created with one continuous brush stroke.

The composition, which reads more as an undulating abstraction than an actual letter, is notable for its boldness and spontaneity.

While evoking the fluidity of Chinese and Japanese calligraphy, the single letter, monumentalised and stripped to its most essential form, also echoes the expressiveness of the ‘New Style’ script discussed earlier.

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