Renowned British Libyan artist and calligrapher Ali Omar Ermes has died aged 76. Born in 1945, in the Libyan capital of Tripoli, Ermes studied at the University of Plymouth in the UK. He returned to Libya after graduating in 1970, but later moved to London, where he completed a master’s degree at what later became Central Saint Martins.
Ermes' work, a thoughtful fusion of Arabic calligraphy and western styles, is held by art institutions around the world, including The British Museum in London, The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, and The National Gallery of Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur, as well as by several private collectors.
In 2014, the London-based artist gifted his 1993 piece, The Sixth Ode, to Philanthropy Age to aid in raising funds for charity. The painting was a representation of the verses of the warrior-poet Antar Ibn Shaddad from the Muallaqat Al Saba'a; a revered collection of early Arabic poetry.
Philanthropy Age auctioned the painting in partnership with Christie’s in Dubai, raising $195,750. At Ermes' request, $78,000 was donated to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, in support of its work with Syrian refugees.