Khaled Ben Slimane

  • Biography

    Born in 1951, Khaled Ben Slimane grew up in Nabeul, an area with a long tradition of pottery. Between 1977 and 1979, he studied at the Fine Arts and Architecture School of Tunis and at the Escuela Massana in Barcelona. Then he established his studio in Tunis. Invited by Idemitsu Museum of Arts in 1982, Khaled worked with a number of celebrated Japanese ceramists like Yu Fujiwara, Takashi Nakazato and Arakawa Toyozo, named the Living National Treasures. Since 1990, he is a member of the International Academy of Ceramics, Geneva, Switzerland. Ben Slimane is a globe trotter, but he has a predilection for the Far East region. A synthesis of East and West, his work is easily recognizable for its repetitive calligraphy, in praise of god and a conceptual form in quest of beauty, freedom and absolute. He plays with graphics and his favourite colours like ochre, blue and gold inspired by the masters he once met or worked with such as Miro and Tapies, he explores time, the universe, the infinite space in reutilizing the traditional ways and materials such as canvas, bronze, wood, paper, etc.

    Since his first solo exhibition in Tunisia in 1982, he has been exhibiting extensively around the world such as at Galerie Le Passage in Berlin (1988), at the Leighton House Museum in London (1995) and the Museu de Ceramica of Barcelona (2001), to name but a few. In 2004 and 2005, his exhibition “From Earth to the Sky - Ceramics and Paintings”, curated by Badischen Landsmuseums travelled in five different museums in German cities including in Karlsruhe, Stuttgart and Düsseldorf. Meanwhile, his work has been widely showed in museums and biennales including at The National Museum of Literature both in Prague and Bratislava in 1989, the Leighton House Museum in 1995, the Museu de Ceramica de Barcelona in 2001 and in 2005 the Seto City Art Museum in Japan. In addition, he also participated in the Universal Exhibition: Hanover 2000 in Germany; the Ian Potter Museum in Melbourne in Australia, the International Biennale of Peking and in Almuñécar in Spain next to Picasso, Mirò, Artigas, etc. He took part in group shows such as at the Craft Council Gallery in London in 2005 and Stadtgalerie in Markdorf, Lac de Constance, in 2007. He took part in the exhibition “Word into Art: Artists of the Modern Middle-East” curated by the British Museum in London (2006-2008). He received numerous distinctions and awards like the National Cultural Award of Tunisia and in 1991 the Honour Prize at the 3rd Worldwide Triennial of Ceramics in Zagreb, ex-Yugoslavia.

    His work can be found in various private and public collections worldwide such as the British Museum, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., the Benaki Museum in Athens, the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts in Amman, among many others. He is represented by Elmarsa Gallery where he had a major solo exhibition in spring 2010. He also took part in the itinerant exhibition from the World Culture Treasures collection of the British Museum in London which takes place at the Centro Exposiciones Arte Canal in Madrid and at the exhibition Kingdom of Vandals at the Badisches landesmuseum in Karlsruhe, Germany. In 2011, his ceramic work is showcased next to the work of Picasso, Miro and Braque in the group exhibition Terres Blaves (Blue Lands) at the Museu de Ceramica de Barcelona in Spain. In addition, his work has been the subject of various publications, catalogues and art books. He is considered to be one of the most important contemporary ceramists. Today, he lives and works in Tunis but he also travels all around the world.



    1990 Elected member of the International Academy of Ceramics, Geneva, Switzerland

    1982 Eight months at Idemitsu Museum of Arts, Tokyo, Japan

    1979 Graduated from Escola Massana, Barcelona, Spain

    1977 Graduated from l’Institut Technologique d’Art, d’Architecture et d’Urbanisme, Tunis, Tunisia

    SOLO EXHIBITIONS (selection)

    2014 Jeddah Art Week, represented by Elmarsa Gallery. Jeddah, KSA

    2011 « Azimuth - Ascension », with Nja Mahdaoui, New Sahara Gallery, Los Angeles, USA

    2010 Elmarsa Gallery, Tunis, Tunisia

    2005 Keramikmuseum, Staufen, Germany

    2005 Universitätsmuseum fur Kunst und Kulturgeschichte, Marlburg, Germany

    2005 Ceramics, Seto City Art Museum, Japan

    2004-05 Keramik und Malerei”, Linden-Museum, Stuttgart, Germany

    2004 Badisches Landsmuseum, Museum Beim Market, Karlsruhe, Germany

    2004 Galerie Ammar Farhat, Sidi Bou Saïd, Tunisia

    2001 Museu de Ceramica de Barcelona, Spain

    2001 Galerie Ammar Farhat, Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia

    1995 Leighton House Museum, London, UK

    1995 The Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Henry Moore Foundation, England, UK

    1990 National Art Gallery, Sofia, Bulgaria

    1989 National Museum of Literature of Prague and Bratislava, Czechoslovakia

    1988 Estoll gallery- Conciéjo de Ciento, Barcelona, Spain

    1988 Galerie Le passage, Berlin, Germany

    1987 Caixa de Gran de Gracia, Barcelona, Spain

    1982 Galerie Attaswir, Tunis, Tunisia

    GROUP EXHIBITIONS (selection)

    2016 “Yesterday is tomorrow's memory: a group show of work from North Africa”, Elmarsa Gallery, Dubai, UAE

    2010 “World Culture Treasures”, Centro Exposiciones Arte Canal, Madrid, Spain - A collection from the British Museum, London, UK

    2010 “Kingdom of Vandals” Badisches landesmuseum, Karlsruhe, Germany

    2009 “Caravansérail”, Attijari Bank, Fès, Morocco

    2008 “Word into Art: Artists of the Middle East”, The British Museum, DIFC, Dubai, UAE

    2007 "Islamic ceramics from the 10th century to the present day." Badisches landesmuseum, Karlsruhe, Germany

    2007 Stadtgalerie, Markdorf, Lac de Constance, Germany

    2006 “Word into Art: Artists of the Middle East”, The British Museum, London, UK

    2005 The Crafts Council Gallery, London, UK

    2005 Elmarsa gallery, Tunis, Tunisia

    2003 Elmarsa gallery, Tunis, Tunisia

    2002 The Princess Foundation, London, UK

    2002 The British Museum, London, UK

    2002 Ian Potter Museum of Arts, Melbourne, Australia

    2001 Ditchling Museum, Sussex, UK

    2000 Universal Exhibition of Hanover 2000, Germany

    2000 International Academy of Ceramics, Keramion Foundation, Frechen, Germany

    1998 The British Museum, London, UK

    1998 Sargadelos Gallery, Milan, Italy

    1994 “Autumn Show”, Elmarsa Gallery, Tunis, Tunisia

    1988 First Congress of Ceramics at Talavera de la Reina, Spain

    1988 Concourse Gallery, Barbican Centre, London, UK

    1984 Galeria Milani, New York, USA

    1984 Almuñécar, Spain - alongside Picasso, Mirò, Artigas, Anrico, Mestre, etc.

    PRIZES & AWARDS (selection)

    2004 National Award from the Ministry of Culture of Tunisia

    2002 International Grand Prix, Vietri sul Mare, Italy

    2002 National Award from the Ministry of Culture of Tunisia

    1993 Honorary Award of the 4th World Triennial, Exhibition of small ceramics Ceramics in Zagreb, Yugoslavia

    1991 Honorary Award of the 3rd World Triennial, Exhibition of small ceramics Ceramics in Zagreb, Yugoslavia

    PUBLIC COLLECTIONS (selection)

    Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, Amman, Jordan

    Develt Güsel Sanatlar Galerisi, Antalya, Turkey

    Benaki Museum, Athens, Greece

    Museu de la Ceramica, Barcelona, Spain

    Ariana Museum-International Museum of Ceramic, Geneva, Switzerland

    British Museum and Museum of Mankind, London, UK

    Museum voor Volkenkunde, Rotterdam, Netherlands

    Idemitsu Museum of Arts, Tokyo, Japan

    City Museum of Modern Art, Tunis, Tunisia

    Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., USA

    Zagreb City Museum, Zagreb, Croatia

    Seto City Art Museum, Japan

    Museo delle Trame Mediterrane, Gibellina Vecchia TP, Italy

    Musée des Beaux-arts, Mons, Belgium

    Museum of Ceramics, Grottaglie, Italy


    ‘Khaled Ben Slimane: The brush dances and the ink sings’, by Rose Issa; Leighton House Museum, London and London arts Board, 1995.

    ‘Invocación I Pictograme Céramique de Khaled Ben Slimane’, Museo de Cerámica de Barcelona, Spain, 2001.

    Ceramic Antica N.6, Ferrara, Italy, 2002.

    ‘Mightier than the sword: Arabic script - beauty and meaning’, by Venetia Porter, Ian Potter Museum of Art, Melbourne 2003 cat. no. 48.

    ‘Von der Erde bis zum Himmel. De la terre au ciel. From Earth to the Sky: Khaled Ben Slimane. Ceramics and painting’, by Marthe Latapie, Karlsruhe: Badisches Landsmuseum, 2004.

    ‘Khaled Ben Slimane, céramique de Tunisie’, Terres d'Aligre (Paris, France), 2004.

    World-Famous Ceramic Artists’ Studios, Bai Ming, Hebei Fine Arts Publishing House, China, 2004

    'Word into Art: Artists of the Modern Middle East', by Venetia Porter, with contributions by Isabelle Caussé, foreword by Saeb Eigner, London: British Museum Press, 2006 (p. 141).

    Islamische Keramik, Dr. Schoole Mostafawy, Badisches Landesmuseum Karlsruhe, Germany, 2007

    Els Segles XX i XX I, a les colleccions del Museo de Ceramica de Barcelona, Spain, 2008

    ‘Angaza Africa: African Art Now’, Chris Spring, Lawrence King Publishing (London), 2008 (p. 306)

    'Word into Art: Artists of the Modern Middle East’, Dubai 2008: British Museum Press, 2008 (p. 155).

    Treasures of the world’s cultures, The British Museum, 2010

    ‘Caravansérail : Confluences africaines’, Fondation Attijari Wafa Bank exhibition, Fès, 2010.

    Terres Blaves – Museo de Ceramica de Barcelona, 2011

    ‘Bibliography of Art and Architecture in the Islamic World, Volume 2, Architecture’, Edited by Susan Sinclair, with Heather Bleaney and Pablo García Suárez, BRILL, The Netherlands, 2012 (p. 656)

    ‘Khaled Ben Slimane: Céramique de Tunisie - Ceramics of Tunisia’, Published by Bedis Bouziri, Simpact, Tunis, 2013.

    Signs of Our Times: From Calligraphy to Calligraffiti (2016), by Rose Issa, Juliet Cestar and Venetia Porter, foreword by Hans Ulrich Obrist, Merrell Publishers Ltd, 2016.