About The Work
Tall cylinders, bottles, cones, plates – beautiful shapes decorated with intense splashes of colour and hurriedly written words are the hallmark of the pottery of Khaled Ben Slimane. Khaled did not set out to become a potter. As a young man he dreamt of becoming a musician or a poet. His interest in ceramics began while he was at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Tunis in the 1970s, an interest that quickly turned into a life-long passion. Periods of study at the Ecole Massana in Barcelona, at the museum of Arts in Japan and successive visits to countries with strong ceramic traditions contributed to his mastery of ceramic techniques and the creation of his distinctive, innovative and appealing style.
A strong believer in the power of heritage and tradition, Ben Slimane considers his work to belong firmly within the context of the ‘Islamic’ pottery of the Middle East and North Africa. His role as he sees it is to inject new life into ceramic traditions that had started to stagnate and die in the 19th century. From Iran to North Africa this had been caused by the breakdown of traditional workshops and the fatal introduction of plastic.
Khaled Ben Slimane
(Tunisia, b. 1951) was born in Nabeul, Ben Slimane studied at the Uscuela Massana of Barcelona and Technological Institute of Art in Tunis, where he lives and works till today. His multi-disciplinary practice includes paintings on paper, canvas and wood as well as ceramic and bronze sculptures. A synthesis of East and West, his work invokes Sufism through graphic repetition in a distinctive style. His works have been exhibited internationally from Tunis, Baghdad, Rabat, London, and Rome to New York, including MNAM-Centre Pompidou and Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, Musée d’Ethnographie de Corse, and Palais des Gouverneurs Génois in Bastia. His work is part of several important private and public collections including the British Museum, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., the Idemitsu Museum of Arts in Tokyo, the Benaki Museum in Athens, the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts in Amman, the Badisches landesmuseum in Karlsruhe and the Museu de Ceramica de Barcelona.
Elmarsa was founded in 1994 in Tunis and expanded to Dubai in 2015. Specialized in both modern and contemporary North African art, it represents recognized 20th century artists as well as mid-career artists. Elmarsa participates in several international art fairs in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Paris, London, Marrakech, Miami and New York.