THE LETTER ‘KAF’
Ali Omar Ermes (Libya, active London, born 1945)
Libya, Lybian, 1991
Screenprint on paper
Plate: 32 1/2 x 24 3/4 in. (82.55 x 62.87 cm); Sheet: 41 3/8 x 31 5/8 in. (105.09 x 80.33 cm)
Gift of Irène Momtaz and Shahbaz Afridi in memory of Mozaffar and Farokh Momtaz (M.2006.131)
Not currently on public view
Writing in Arabic is not only a consistent and powerful theme in classical Islamic art but it also resonates with contemporary artists as both an art form and an expression of their cultural or religious identity. In his work, Ermes focuses on a single letter, here a kaf (K). The bold, black letter dramatically offset against the light paper recalls the black inscriptions on a white ground that characterize tenth-century Islamic ceramic wares.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Middle East Brand Director Renaud Pretet and members of the Touchline board were recently received by His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Higher Committee for Dubai Expo 2020 to present the special painting ‘Tawasul Al-Himam’ (The Continuum of Resolve) by Ali Omar Ermes. The great work of art was commissioned by Jeager-LeCoultre and Touchline FZ-LLC in celebration of Dubai’s expo theme.
East-West: Objects Between Cultures
Tate Britain: Exhibition
1 September 2006 – 18 February 2007
Ali Omar Ermes, Shadda 1980
Watercolour and gold on paper
635 x 615 mm
Lent by the British Museum
The verse inscription relates to social equality. Like the Tachiste works displayed in this room, ‘Shadda‘ depicts a gesture imbued with meaning. Although some of these Tachiste works are reminiscent of calligraphy, Arabic script is given spiritual significance in Ermes’ work, as a written expression of Qur’anic revelation.
What is the relationship between image and word in this example of calligraphy?