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On the passing of Ali Omar Ermes (1945-2021): World-renowned artist and former MCB Treasurer

World-renowned British-Libyan artist, calligrapher par excellence and dedicated community organiser, Ali Omar Ermes passed away this week, on Saturday, the 10th of July. 

Ali Omar was steadfastly invested in the development and advancement of British Muslim communities. An ardent supporter of the Muslim Council of Britain when it was inaugurated in 1997, he famously presented a piece of his Islamic calligraphy at an MCB reception to then Prime Minister Tony Blair, continued his involvement in formative MCB campaigns and served as MCB Treasurer in 2002. He was also one of the founding trustees of the Al-Manaar Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre in West London, and contributed his artistic prowess to helping curate the interior design and architecture of the building. 

Whilst he remained rooted in the British Muslim communities he so dedicatedly served, his art garnered him international recognition and acclaim. Active as an artist since the 1960’s, Ali Omar’s paintings explored the very conceptions of morality, life and death. He drew upon Arabic literature, poetry, his culture and religion, and used Arabic script and bold colours in a way few others have done. His works have been exhibited at over 55 international exhibitions, and have made their way into private and public art collections of note the world over. 

He will be sorely missed by not only his family and friends, but also by the MCB family as a whole and the wider Muslim communities of which he was a part. His legacy will live on through the institutions he helped found, those he dedicated himself to in service of British Muslim communities, and the beautiful art he created. 

Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raj’un – to Allah we belong and to Him we return. We pray that Allah (SWT) grants Ali Omar Ermes the highest station in paradise and bestows peace, the strength to bear this loss, upon his family.


Photo credit: Ali Omar Ermes |
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