Mazen Kerbaj

© Mazen Kerbaj

Mazen Kerbaj is a Lebanese comics artist, visual artist and musician born in Beirut in 1975. He also works on selective illustration and design projects and is a part-time instructor at the American University of Beirut. Kerbaj is author of more than 15 books, and many of his short stories and drawings have been published in anthologies, newspapers and magazines. His work has been translated into more than ten languages in various local and international publications. His paintings, drawings, videos, live performances and installations have been shown as part of numerous solo and collective exhibitions, in galleries, museums and art fairs around the globe. Mazen Kerbaj is widely considered as one of the initiators and key players of the Lebanese free improvisation and experimental music scene. He is co-founder and active member of MILL, the cultural music association behind Irtijal, an annual improvisation music festival held in Beirut since 2001 (, and co-founder of Al Maslakh, the first label for experimental music in the region operating since 2005 ( As a trumpet player, whether in solo performances or with long-lasting groups like “A” Trio, Kerbaj pushes the boundaries of the instrument and continues to develop a personal sound and an innovative language, following in the footsteps of pioneers like Bill Dixon, Axel Dörner and Franz Hautzinger. Since 2000, he has played in solo and group performances in the Middle East, Europe and USA. He has performed with many musicians, some more frequently than others, including: Sharif Sehnaoui, Raed Yassin, Franz Hautzinger, Lê Quan Ninh, Mats Gustaffson, The Scrambled Eggs, Guillermo Gregorio, Gene Coleman, Michael Zerang, Jim Baker, Jack Wright, Michael Bullock, Vic Rawlings, David Stäckenas, Martin Küchen, Axel Dörner, Ricardo Arias, Jason Khan, The Ex, Thomas Lehn, Joe McPhee, Jean-François Pauvros, Bob Ostertag, Raymond Boni, John Butcher, Martin Blume, Tony Buck, Magda Mayas, Peter Evans and Nate Wooley.

Selective bibliography

• Un An – Journal d’une année comme les autres (2014) – Tamyras – Lebanon
• Lettre à la mère (2013) – L’Apocalypse – France
• Cette histoire se passé (2011) – Tamyras – Lebanon

Solo exhibitions (since 2013)

• 2014: “Medio Occidente” solo exhibition at Mostra d’Oltremare – Naples, Italy
• 2013: “Lettre à la mère” solo comics exhibition at Beirut Art Center
• 2013: NOW! solo exhibition at Galerie Janine Rubeiz – Beirut

Group exhibitions (since 2013)

• 2015: “L’Abécédaire de Laure Ghorayeb et Mazen Kerbaj” joint exhibition with Laure Ghorayeb, Galerie Janine Rubeiz – Beirut
• 2014: “Here And Elsewhere” – New Museum ¬– NY, USA
• 2014: “Home Sweet Home” – Dazibao – Montreal, Canada

Selected Music Works and Projects (since 2013)

• Loopa: piece for trumpet and loop pedals (2013)
• ARIHA brass quartet: recording and performances with Axel Dörner, Franz Hautzinger and Carl-Ludwig Hübsch (2013)
• ARIHA trumpet ensemble: recording and performances with Axel Dörner, Franz Hautzinger, Greg Kelley, Liz Albee, Nate Wooley and Peter Evans (2014)

Major festivals and venues

• Musiktage Donaueschingen Festival (Germany, 2014)
• MAERZ Musik – (Berlin 2013)
• SPAZIOMUSICA 2013 (Cagliari, Italy 2013)
• Issue Project Room (NY, USA 2013)
• Villa Romana (Florence Italy 2013)