ESSENCE: Inner Garden - Atsunobu Katagiri

Japan House São Paulo invites visitors to experience a form of coexistence between man and nature, through an installation that emphasizes the respect for and importance of this connection


March 7 to April 30, 2023

Tuesday to Friday

from 10 am to 6 pm


from 9 am to 7 pm

Sundays and holidays

from 9 am to 6 pm


free admission

Early booking (optional)

click here

The exhibition has accessibility features



Visit the exhibition with the virtual tour 360º


ESSENCE: Inner Garden - Atsunobu Katagiri

While the Brazilian flora is vast, exuberant, and intense in its magnitude and diversity, delicateness is one of the main characteristics of the plants and flowers that make up the Japanese flora.


A botanical installation and an invitation to take a moment of contemplation

It is based on these differences and contradictions that the artist and Ikebana master Atsunobu Katagiri creates an unprecedented botanical installation to occupy the ground floor of Japan House São Paulo, from March 7 to April 30. Called “ESSENCE: Inner Garden - Atsunobu Katagiri”, the free exhibition invites visitors to take a moment of contemplation on the bustling Avenida Paulista and gives them the opportunity to reflect on the essential presence of nature in all areas of life.


Atsunobu Katagiri: artist and Ikebana master

Known for his contemporary approach to the use of plants and flowers, Katagiri combines traditional creative aspects with current issues in his work.

In his “Sacrifice” project, the outcome of his experience as a guest artist for the Japanese Government Agency for Cultural Affairs’ "Hama-dori, Naka-dori & Aizu Tri-Regional Culture Collaboration Project (2013)", the artist moved to the city of Minamisoma, in Fukushima, a region affected by the great 2011 earthquake. There, Katagiri was gripped by conflicting emotions, since while observing the recent destruction, he noticed nature resuming its growth, re-encountering a native flower species that had disappeared due to human action. In that environment, he collected and created exuberant floral arrangements and used the ruins as a backdrop, as if trying to represent this regeneration.

His installation occupies the ground floor at Japan House São Paulo, where the glass wall will be covered with images of flowers from various origins, which were selected, scanned, and enlarged by the artist himself, giving the space a more intimate, welcoming atmosphere. Visitors will find an environment featuring a variety of plants, flowers, and substrates, such as moss, for example, a type of vegetation that requires little maintenance. As essential elements in forests and gardens in Japan, they represent beauty, simplicity, and sophistication, as well as the aesthetics of wabi-sabi (transience and imperfection).

“Nature is where we came from and where we are going. It is not only essential for the existence of any living being, but also for our sanity. With Katagiri's works, natural elements bring us into direct contact with our thoughts, the world within us, and help us rediscover our sense of wellbeing, almost like being inside a temple. In essence, it is a means of connecting and understanding the magnitude of this relationship, but it is also a warning about its fragility and finitude. After all, we are nature”, remarks Japan House São Paulo Cultural Director and exhibition curator Natasha Barzaghi Geenen.


Cycles of nature

Since it is a living installation, you will be able to observe the different life cycles of each element over an eight-week period.

More than bringing nature into the city, the artist, who is exhibiting for the first time in Latin America, pays homage to its power of regeneration, without taming it. Katagiri will participate in lectures, workshops, and guided tours as part of the exhibition's extensive parallel program. 

ESSENCE: Inner Garden - Atsunobu Katagiri

Accessible JHSP program

Within the JHSP Accessible program, the exhibition “ESSENCE: Inner Garden - Atsunobu Katagiri” features audio description resources, sign language, and a bench with tactile elements to make the visit even more inclusive.

About Atsunobu Katagiri

Katagiri was born in Osaka in 1973, where he became a master at the Misasagi Ikebana School at the age of 24. He is known for combining traditional and modern approaches in his ikebana work, and he collaborates with artists from various areas.

His work is characterized not only by small compositions using wildflowers, but also majestic pieces made with cherry blossoms. Katagiri transits between tradition and current issues, as can be seen in many of his works, such as his project called "Sacrifice", which was the outcome of his experience in the city of Minamisoma, in Fukushima, a region devastated by the 2011 earthquake. There, Katagiri noticed the resilience and growth of the region’s native vegetation, even after a disaster, which impelled him to create flower arrangements in the middle of the ruins as a way of expressing and honoring this contradiction.


Parallel program

Guided Tour “ESSENCE: Inner Garden” with Atsunobu Katagiri

When: March 7 (Tuesday) at Japan House São Paulo
Time: 3 pm
Duration: 60 min
Free activity
Limited space. To attend, pick up a ticket at the reception 30 minutes in advance. Sign language will be available as an accessibility resource during the visit.

Workshop “I am Flower - floral adornments” with Atsunobu Katagiri

When: March 12 (Sunday) at Japan House São Paulo
Time: 10 am; 11:30 am; 2 pm; 3:30 pm
Duration: 60 min
Family activity suitable for children aged 6 to 12 years accompanied by an adult responsible for them.
Limited space. To attend, pick up a ticket at the reception 30 minutes in advance.

Lecture “The art of Ikebana: Its past and present”, with Atsunobu Katagiri

When: March 14 (Tuesday) - Online Event
Time: 4 pm
Duration: 90 min
Free activity
Broadcast on Japan House São Paulo’s YouTube channel

Workshop “I am Flower - floral adornments” with Atsunobu Katagiri

When: March 18 (Saturday) at the Serrinha Farm
Address: Estr. Mun. José Vaccari, Km 1.5 - Zona Rural, Bragança Paulista
Time: from 10 am to 4 pm
Free activity
Limited space. To attend, register in advance at https://bit.ly/iamflower
Activity conducted in partnership with Arte Serrinha, a cultural project in Bragança Paulista


'ESSENCE: Inner Garden - Atsunobu Katagiri' Exhibition
#EssenciaNaJHSP #AtsunobuKatagiri

Period: March 7 to April 30, 2023
Cost: Free admission
The exhibition has accessibility resources (Sign language, audio descriptions, tactile elements).

Early booking (optional): https://agendamento.japanhousesp.com.br

Japan House São Paulo | ground floor
Avenida Paulista, 52 – Bela Vista, São Paulo

Opening hours: 
Tuesday to Friday, from 10 am to 6 pm
Saturdays, from 9 am to 7 pm
Sundays and holidays, from 9 am to 6 pm.

Japan House São Paulo remains closed on Mondays, without exception, including on holidays.


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