Dorothy Salhab Kazemi

by / Thursday, 04 May 2017 / Published in Past Events, Past Exhibitions

Retrospective Exhibition of Lebanon’s First Modern Ceramist

Opening on 4 June 2017 at 6pm at MACAM Alita/Byblos
Extended : The exhibition will run until 30 July 2017.

“Her love of organic form transcended art. She saw its beauty in every aspect of nature, finding inspiration in the minutest seed and pebble. Her profound spirituality, coupled with a genuine love of the earth, makes her work truly unique.”
– Afaf Zurayk in the book ‘The Spirit of the Pot – Dorothy Salhab Kazemi’

MACAM is pleased to announce the opening of a retrospective exhibition on Dorothy Salhab Kazemi’s short but outstanding career. Widely regarded as Lebanon’s first modern ceramist, Kazemi’s work stands out for having combined tradition and modernity, craft and art, the orient and the occident, the East and the West. She merged the abstract, born out of the scientific age from the West with the organic abstract from the Far East in a personal synthesis.

Among the 71 pieces on show are superb plates, cups, bowls, vases, vessels, kettles and 16 organically shaped sculptures the artist created up to her premature death in 1990.


Bus Shuttle

A bus shuttle will be available on the opening on Sunday, 4 June 2017.
Departure from Martyrs’ Square, Beirut in front of Virgin Mega Store at 5pm.
Return from Alita at 8pm. Roundtrip $10.

For reservations call 71-347716


Dorothy Salhab Kazemi

Renowned critic Helen Khal referred to the ceramist as “The utter refinement and delicacy of form that mark her functional pieces, bowls, pots and jugs, large and small would have been enough to bring her fame. Many are in stoneware, pottery fired at high temperatures that is very hard and which was first introduced to Lebanon by Dorothy. Others are porcelain, thin and translucent.”

She always used the wheel, managed by her feet, rather than the electrical one and over time she advanced her work from the earthenware (900-980 Celsius) to the stoneware (1200-1280 Celsius). Kazemi was a pure potter working with a manual wheel to produce objects, each with its own identity. Her objects were not made – they were born, born with a spirit and a sense for life.

To broaden her own artistic horizon she pursued studies in Denmark after completing her bachelor’s in Lebanon. While in Denmark, a hub for innovative design and ceramics, she was taught by the prominent ceramicist Gutte Eriksen (1918-2008), whose “personal interpretation of articles for everyday use – pitchers, cups and vases – that became the foundation of her work” also left an indelible mark on Kazemi’s approach to ceramics. She subsequently went to Scotland where she taught pottery and studied in Cornwell the works of world famous modern ceramist Bernard Leach (1887-1979), the forerunner of modern ceramics who synthesized the qualities of Japanese ceramics and that of the West.

Kazemi fused what she had been taught there with a deep affinity for Islamic art as well as excavated objects. The latter lead her to be a ceramics expert at excavations sites in Mayadin Rahba/Syria.

After teaching ceramics for two years in Glasgow/Scotland (1968 to 1970) Kazemi returned to Lebanon where she became the first to teach ceramics at what would later become the Lebanese American University (LAU) from 1971 to 1982. Among her students who appreciated her for being a very giving teacher is Samar Mogharbel who has become a well-known ceramist in her own right.

One of her laudable contributions besides pioneering the art of ceramics in the region is indeed to have influenced the coming generations of potters and ceramists in Lebanon.



The retrospective will be featured in a special catalog.


The ‘Age of Ceramics’ Competition

In parallel with this Retrospective Exhibition, MACAM organized a competition for potters and ceramists with the aim of fostering creativity in this material. On June 17, 2017 the exhibition of the artworks of the participants in the competition ‘Age of Ceramics’ and the Award Ceremony will take place at MACAM. For more information please click here.




Dorothy Salhab Kazemi 1942-1990

Professional Experience

1968-1970 Professor of ceramics in Glasgow, Scotland
1971-1982 Professor of ceramics at the BUC, now LAU
Ceramic expert at the French-Syrian archeological excavation site at Mayadin Rahba, Syria

 Personal Exhibitions

1969 Compass Gallery, Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom
1972 Gallery One, Beirut, Lebanon
Mural ceramic (300 tiles) at the Farah Commercial Center, Hamra Street, Beirut, Lebanon
1974 Contact Art Gallery, Beirut, Lebanon
1975 Kunstindustri Museet (Museum of Arts and Design), Copenhagen, Denmark
Artisans du Liban et d’Orient, Beirut, Lebanon
People’s Gallery, Damascus, Syria
1979 French Cultural Center, Damascus, Syria
1988 Maison des Jeunes et de la Culture, Riberac, France
1990 Ferme de Lussac, Verteillac, France
1991 Hommage à Dorothy Salhab Kazemi, Salon d’Automne, Sursock Museum, Beirut, Lebanon
The yearly “Dorothy Salhab Kazemi Price for young artists” was launched at Sursock Museum
2016 A collection, Alice Mogabgab Gallery, Beirut, Lebanon


This Event is sponsored by

MACAM would like to express its heartfelt appreciation to Naturnity SARL for sponsoring the event and Château St.Thomas for donating their noble wine.

One Response to “Dorothy Salhab Kazemi”

  1. […] In parallel the works of Dorothy Salhab Kazemi, the pioneering modernist Lebanese ceramist are showcased in an extensive Retrospective Exhibition. […]