Melbourne Ikebana Container Award & Exhibition (Biennale)

Finalists 2022


Wa Melbourne Ikebana Festival is pleased to present an opportunity for ceramic artists to create artworks to inspire ikebana artists.

The choice of container is a quintessential element of ikebana. The artistic essence of ikebana lies in the creation of unity between a container and cut flowers by an ikebana artist. This unity makes it possible to capture the true spirit of the flowers.

Internationally renowned ceramic artist, Hiroe Swen will be the judge for this award.  

Exhibition: 10 & 11 September 2022

Venue: Linen Room, Abbotsford Convent, Abbotsford, Victoria (Please check where Linen Room is on the map in our contact page before you arrive Abbotsford Convent)    

Important dates: 

1 July 2022: Entries open

10 August 2022: Entries close

19 August 2022: Finalists Announcement. See our News page. 

5 pm - 7 pm, 9 September 2022: Delivery of artwork

8 pm, 9 September 2022: Judging

11 pm, 9 September 2022: Winner announcement 

10am, 10 September 2022: Award ceremony

11:00 am - 5:00 pm, 10 & 11 September 2022: Exhibition (Admission Free)

5 pm - 7 pm, 11 September 2022: Collection of artwork


Prize: Hiroe Swen Award - $1000 Cash Prize (non-acquisitive)


Judge: Hiroe Swen

Ceramic artist, Former Lecturer in Ceramics at the Australian National University Institute of the Arts.

Hiroe Swen was born in Kyoto. At age 23 Hiroe began a 5 and a half year apprenticeship at the Kyoto Crafts Institute under master potter H Hayashi. At that time, female potters were very rare and Hiroe was a pioneer in ceramic society. She met her future husband Cornel in the mid-sixties and together they migrated to Australia in 1968. Hiroe and Cornel have lived in Australia ever since and throughout her life. Hiroe has been a prolific creator of ever changing and evolving hand built ceramics. In 2016, Hiroe-san was awarded The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays by the Government of Japan for her contribution to the promotion of Japanese culture and mutual understanding between Japan and Australia.

Hiroe has been a judge for Ikebana Gallery Award, the first online ikebana competition for all ikebana students.  

Message from Hiroe Swen 

Ikebana is an art consisting of flower and container. Choice of container reveals aesthetics that each ikebana artist has. The role of containers in ikebana is that of frames in painting and that of dishes in cooking. 

I always hoped that ikebana artists would choose a container carefully and also pay special attention to the ceramic artists who created it. Melbourne Ikebana Festival, where an international ikebana exhibition and a container exhibition are held side by side would provide an opportunity that ikebana artists and ceramic artists would cooperate and stimulate each other. 

After seeing many excellent finalists' works, I found it extremely difficult to judge. However, I would like to choose the work that would meets the following criteria. 

1. An Ikebana container created with unique and individual aesthetics,          

2. Not just beautiful to look at but also would give joy to ikebana artists, inspiring them to arrange their own ikebana work using it. 

Although there are many ceramic art exhibitions, this project established in Melbourne by ikebana artists is internationally and historically distinctive. I really look forward to seeing the development of this exhibition as well as the future of Australia’s own ceramic art that may be different from that of Japanese ceramic art. 

Curators: Ryoko Winstanley (Chief Curator), Shoan Lo, Sue Healey & Shoto Duke (Ikebana Artists)