16 February 2018
Respected Ikebana master Shigeo Suga visited LFS on 1 February. Suga Sensei, as his students address him, spent 2 hours demonstrating the art of Ikebana – a unique Japanese style of flower arrangement that emphasises form and balance – to students on the Career Course.
A selection of classical music, including Symphony No. 4 from The Rescuing of Andromeda by Perseus and five variants of Dives and Lazarus set the tone of the morning. Suga Sensei’s gentle charm and natural showmanship put the room at ease, and a hush fell over those assembled.
Whether due to his age and experience, his reputation, or simply the artistry unfolding in the room, a powerful sense of presence – meditative, yet focused – was clearly apparent in those who witnessed Mr. Suga’s work.
Beautiful things plus a human touch - that's art, isn't it?Shigeo Suga
The nimbleness of Suga Sensei’s fingers belied his advanced years. He worked completely in the moment, with no preparation, and using only the materials on-hand at the school. The spontaneity and simplicity of this craftsmanship made his compositions particularly impactful, clearly demonstrating his artistic clarity and the power of his creative vision.
EXPERIENCE THE BEAUTY OF IKEBANA FIRSTHAND BY WATCHING THE VIDEO BELOW
Mr. Suga has spent his life practicing the art. Born in 1930s Tokyo, the son of an Ikebana tutor, he had become part of the Ikebana Sogetsu family by the 1950s. His work has dressed events for dignitaries like Queen Elizabeth II and the Emperor of Japan, and gathered accolades ranging from RHS Gold Medals to The Imperial Award of Japan.
Suga Sensei is Ikebana mentor to LFS teachers Wagner Kreusch and Marzena Joseph, and is one of the art’s pioneers, spreading it to a non-Japanese audience. He studied directly under the Sogetsu style of Ikebana’s founder, Sofu Teshigahara. Teshigahara sought to escape the constraints of traditional Ikebana – both in regards to creative expression, and the teaching of foreigners – 90 years ago.
Ikebana, which dates back to the 6th century, has long been considered a dignified pastime, and has been practiced by every legendary general in Japanese history. Amongst the more-than 1,000 schools of Ikebana, however, Sogetsu is unique. A potent symbol of Japan’s emergence into cultural modernity, it’s as concerned with Pop Art as it is Zen and spirituality.
Suga Sensei has been sharing this art for more than half a century – on 1 February, we were honoured that he chose to do so at LFS.