"Colour is the vital ingredient for me: I can see in my work the heat and intensity of my home in Sudan, the cooler shades of London. I love organic forms as well as architecture, and when I copied the shape of my ear I found that it changed into the natural architecture of the shell, a symbol that I have become closely associated with. It is a shape with a transcendent quality, one which belongs as much in an image of Arab design as a European landscape, and I think I will always love the way that symbols can unite completely different experiences in life."
Omeima is a textiles artist and designer. Having been brought up in Sudan and the Middle East before settling in the UK, her work is a unique fusion of eastern and western influences, with strong influences of organic forms and Arabic styles. Colour is the vital ingredient in Omeima’s designs: drawing on the heat and intensity of her home in Sudan and the cooler shades of London for inspiration. Omeima employs deep, intense colours, with rich blending and layering techniques - creating work that stimulates the mind, spirit and senses.
Omeima uses traditional screen printing and dyeing techniques with silk, tissue, velvet and paper to create textured work that you can ‘feel’. Part of the technique she uses incorporates 3D layering to enhance the sense of perspective. She particularly enjoys experimenting with devoré as it can create contrast and depth within the textile design and provides endless possibilities for experimentation.
Omeima has been commissioned internationally to create textile art and design, as well as working on production ranges of cushions, scarves, lampshades, book marks, notebooks and cards.
A graduate with a BA in Textile Design from Surrey Institute of Art & Design at Farnham (now University for the Creative Arts) Omeima has over twenty years experience working as an artist, maker and designer.
In 2013 Omeima won a Cockpit Arts bursary award and her studio is based in a Cockpit Arts studio in Bloomsbury, London. In 2014 she won the Jill Humphrey Springboard Prize and was shortlisted for Shape Arts’s prestigious Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary Award.
In 2015 Omeima was selected by the British Council, in partnership with Shape Arts, for a residency in Qatar, and was commissioned to create work for the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha. Omeima incorporated Arabic calligraphy into her designs, responding to the works of this prestigious collection.
In 2016, Omeima, working in partnership with artist Miranda Ellis, was awarded a grant by Arts Council England. Fusing textiles and glass making techniques, the Eye2eye project culminated in an installation of new work at ONCA gallery in Brighton in April 2017.
In 2017 Omeima was awarded a research and development grant by Unlimited, a programme delivered by Shape Arts and Artsadmin to raise the profile of disabled artists. Working in partnership with glass artist Mike Barrett, this unique collaborative project, entitled River Runs Through, draws on the experiences of Sudanese people who have migrated to Britain. An exhibition at Fabrica Gallery in Brighton in March 2018 shows how Omeima's textiles and Mike's glass works have fused together in a way that shows migratory pathways of the mind and body, much of which is inspired by shared recollections of time spent by the river Nile in Khartoum, Omeima's birthplace.
In 2018 Omeima was commissioned by Artichoke to work with local communities in Brighton to create a banner that would signify the city's ethos and send out a message of equality to mark the centenary of women's right to vote in the UK. The resulting work, a hand embroidered banner made by a group of hearing and deaf women working under the name 'Bridging Voices', was taken to London as part of the landmark PROCESSIONS event on 10 June 2018.
In 2019 Omeima was thrilled to have received the runner-up prize for the Arab British Centre Award for Culture (individual award). The Award for Culture, now in its 7th edition, celebrates organisations and individuals whose work has significantly contributed to the British public’s understanding of the Arab world over the last two years. The Award, which runs biennially, offers a poignant opportunity to reflect on the growth, resilience, and impact of the Arab arts scene across the UK.It was so great to meet the other brilliant shortlisted creatives at the award ceremony - and my deepest thanks go to the Arab British Centre and the illustrious judges who made the final selection. I will receive a grant sponsored by the British Council to travel to the Middle East in the near future, to widen my contacts and open doors to new work and collaborations.
In the same year Omeima was also hugely honoured to embark on the Clore Fellowship, the 16th cohort of leaders from the arts and cultural sector, hailing from England, Ireland, India, Brazil, Hong Kong, South Africa and beyond.
Photos by Louise Wickham
Omeima is available for workshops, creative and development projects and commissions - please email via the contact page
Omeima would like to thank the organisations below for their funding and generous support