Major exhibition SODEISHA: connected to Australia opening 2 March 2019

20 Feb 2019

A nationally significant exhibition will open at Newcastle Art Gallery on Saturday 2 March 2019, drawn from the Gallery’s substantial collection of Japanese Sodeisha ceramics and the result of a collaboration of curators and artists across Australia and Japan.

SODEISHA: connected to Australia celebrates Newcastle Art Gallery’s significant holdings of Japanese ceramics with 10 displays of contemporary ceramic artists from Australia and Japan alongside the Gallery's Sodeisha collection.

The Australian artists involved include Alterfact Studio, Penny Byrne, Juz Kitson, Julie Bartholomew, and Kenji Uranishi, while artists Takashi Hinoda, Satoru Hoshino, Yusaku Ishida, Rokubei Kiyomizu, and Hideo Matsumoto will represent Japan in the exhibition.

Satoru HOSHINO Beginning Form – Spiral ‘17 2017 smoked earthenware 850°C, black stoneware Artist collection Photography Oginuma, Hidekazu

“This is the first major exhibition in Australia to celebrate the legacy and influence of the pioneering Sodeisha group on contemporary ceramics, and is testament to the strength of Newcastle Art Gallery’s collection,” said Newcastle Art Gallery Director Lauretta Morton.

“More than 37 years after the acquisition of this internationally significant collection, it continues to be a valuable cultural asset for the city of Newcastle as well as the nation”.

SODEISHA: connected to Australia provides the first opportunity for Newcastle Art Gallery to develop an international, cultural partnership project based on the city’s collection.

The exhibition brings together curatorial advisor Kevin White - a MEXT Scholar and exhibiting artist Satoru Hoshino – an original member of the Sodeisha group. Hoshino will arrive in Newcastle from Japan to install a major wall and floor mounted ceramic installation, and joins Professor White and Gallery staff to take part in a range of dynamic public events.

Exhibition installation image (detail) 19/12/2005 Newcastle Art Gallery From left to right: Masatsugu HITOMI
Gate of sound c1980; Yosuke NAKANISHI Globe A n.d; Yosuke NAKANISHI Globe B n.d Gift of members of the
Sodeisha Group 1981 Newcastle Art Gallery collection

About the Japanese Sodeisha ceramics in the Newcastle Art Gallery collection 

Newcastle Art Gallery holds 58 Sodeisha ceramics, one of the largest collections by this important group of avant-garde post-war artists outside of Japan. 

In 1979 Newcastle Art Gallery hosted a contemporary Sodeisha Japanese ceramics exhibition arranged by the Australian Gallery Directors Council in association with the Crafts Board of the Australia Council and the Japan Foundation.

It was the first major exhibition held in Australia that brought attention to the groundbreaking work of the Sodeisha group of ceramic artists, and featured 62 works of art by 32 members of the group including founding members Osamu Suzuki (1926-2001), Kazuo Yagi (1918-1979), and Hikaru Yamada (1924-2001). After two years of touring the exhibition to a number of state and regional Australian galleries, the Sodiesha group elected to gift 58 of the original 62 works of art to Newcastle Art Gallery.

Public programs supporting the exhibition

A comprehensive suite of public programs will support the exhibition, including masterclasses, artist-led workshops and forums, and regional clay community activities, drawing in new audiences for this ancient and contemporary art form.

A summary of the highlights of the program have been provided below, however several more public events are scheduled to support the exhibition. For more information visit:

Tadayasu SASAYAMA Waves cube B n.d stoneware plates on wood base 28.5 x 21.0 x 14.5cm Gift of members of the Sodeisha Group 1981 Newcastle Art Gallery collection

SODEISHA: connected to Australia Opening event.
 Friday 1 March 2019, from 5.30pm
 Refreshments provided.
The official launch of the exhibition SODIEHSA: connected to Australia, opened by the Consul-General of Japan in Sydney, Mr Keizo Takewaka. 

Artist Forum: Sodeisha and ceramics today
 Saturday 2 March 2019, 2.00pm-3.00pm, Free event
Speakers: James Collis Exhibitions Coordinator Newcastle Art Gallery, Prof. Kevin White RMIT Melbourne, exhibiting artist Saturo Hoshino, exhibiting artist Kenji Uranishi.
 At this free talk, the panel will explore their personal historical connections with the Sodeisha movement, and discuss the impact and influence of this movement on ceramics in Australia and Japan today.

Exclusive Performance: Crawling through mud
Commissioned by Newcastle Art Gallery through Catapult Dance Choreographic Hub
 Saturday 2 March 2019 from 7:00pm
 Refreshments provided.
Award-winning Australian choreographer and performer Kristina Chan presents an exclusive commissioned work, inspired by the seminal 1955 performance Challenging Mud by Kazuo Shiraga.

One-day Raku Clay Masterclass with Satoru Hoshino
 Saturday 9 March and Sunday 10 March 2019 (two sessions)
 10.30am - 3pm
 Most materials provided
 For intermediate and established ceramicists
 Join visiting Japanese artist Satoru Hoshino, for the rare opportunity to attend this five-hour masterclass using raku clay.

SODEISHA: connected to Australia supported by Dobell Exhibition Grant
 Newcastle Art Gallery has been able to achieve this ambitious exhibition and program of events through the support of the Dobell Exhibition Grant, funded by the Sir William Dobell Art Foundation and managed by Museums & Galleries of NSW.
 For more information, see related media release (released 19 November 2018)
Gallery lands $40,000 for major exhibition of Japanese ceramics
This exhibition is supported by the Dobell Exhibition Grant, funded by the Sir William Dobell Art Foundation and managed by Museums & Galleries of NSW.