Born in Libya, Ali Omar Ermes is internationally renowned for his beautifully composed paintings based on Arabic literature and letterforms. He is probably the most collected artist from the Muslim world. Ali Omar has held over sixty exhibitions worldwide, with work displayed or housed in the collections of institutions such as the British Museum and Tate Britain, London.  

Ermes began as a writer. His background with word, prose and letter transcends into his paintings based on the form of the Arabic letter and literary content. Ermes approaches his painting with an appreciation and representation of the letter’s form. And in 1970, he graduated from the Plymouth School of Art and Design.

Ali Omar's paintings can be classified as 1) works which focus on a single letterform and 2) those which comprise a series of words or phrases.  Although he deals with letters, his art if very different from calligraphy.  Whereas traditional calligraphers work according to specific standards, Ali Omar paints with free-flowing brush strokes that really sets his apart from other artists.