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Ravi GuneWardena

Selected Ikebana Demonstrations/Exhibitions:


2023. 02. 20. The Modern Art of Sogetsu Ikebana.  Demonstration and Lecture for Modernism Week, Palm Springs.  Los Angeles architect and ikebana teacher Ravi GuneWardena presents a lecture on Sogetsu, one of the major schools of ikebana in Japan, and follows with a demonstration of floral arrangements.


2022.04. 23.  Seeding the City, a one-day public program taking place at Helms Bakery District on Earth Day, 2022. Participants included Teena Appeles and Andrea Richards (We Heart L.A. Parks), Ron Finley, FlowertruckLA, Fran and Danica, David Godshall (Terremoto), Marianne Gerdes (A Growing Passion), Cyrice Griffith, Ravi Gunewardena (Sogetsu LA), James Hubbell (Ilan-Lael Foundation, In Harmony With Nature), John Kamp and James Rojas (Dream Play Build), Flora Lee (MAD) and Dean Howell (Gruen Assoc), Make & Take, Ilaria Mazzoleni and Richard Molina (NAHR); Michele McRae (LA Neighborhood Land Trust), Hung Viet Nguyen, Danielle Stevenson (The Dirty Lab), Olga Severina (PosterTerritory: Biophilia), Jason E.C. Wright.


2022. 03. Co-curator for Common Ground, an ikebana installation by Sogetsu Los Angeles in collaboration with artist Adam Silverman at JACCC (the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center) Los Angeles, presenting 56 arrangements representing the fifty state and six territories of the United States.  March 19 – April 10, 2022.


2022. 02. Detached Landscape, a large-scale ikebana installation in collaboration with Tory J. Lowitz, for the Vessels exhibition at SIZED Ltd., an art and design space founded, director and curated by Alexander May. February 2022.



2021. 09. 18.  Tokonoma and Ikebana for Built In at the Neutra VDL House.  Ravi created a group of ikebana arrangements within a tokonoma (an alcove for display of art objects) designed and temporarily built in by Escher GuneWardena for this site-specific group exhibition curated by Los Angeles gallery Marta with artist and writer Erik Benjamins, at the Richard Neutra VDL II House. 18 September to 7 November 2021. 


2021. 02. Toward a Raw Materialism, large scale ikebana installation for an experimental group exhibition with artists Patty Chang, David Kelley, Ravi GuneWardena, and Miles Coolidge, curated by Simon Leung at xMPL (Experimental Media Performance Lab) UC Irvine, February through March 2021. This project collects contemporary artists working across numerous media (film, performance, photography, and ikebana), each dealing with the raw material of the earth – metal, water, wood, coal, etc. – simultaneously as the content and the physical medium of their work.


2018.04.  Haruko Takeichi and Students – Group Exhibition at JANM, April 2018.  Ravi took part with an individual arrangement and assisted in creating the Taisaku installation.


2018.03.  Pile Up - An Ikebana Exhibition, WuHo Gallery, Hollywood. A 30-foot long installation of spring flowers by Ravi GuneWardena with individual ikebana arrangements by Sogetsu members and Woodbury University Interior Design Students.


2018. 02.  Demonstration for Chiura Obata: An American Modern, February 2018 at the Art, Design, and Architecture Museum, UC Santa Barbara. Ravi presented an ikebana demonstration in conjunction with exhibition of Japanese-American artist Chiura Obata, father of the famous architect Gyo Obata.


2017. 07.  In celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the design of the iconic “April” vase by Paris-based Studio Tsé&Tsé,  Ravi created a series of flower arrangements at PLEASE DO NOT ENTER Gallery and Design Store at Pershing Square, Los Angeles.


2017.06.  Ikebana Cloud at the AD&A - Art, Design, and Architecture Museum, UC Santa Barbara. Ravi created a large “ikebana cloud” installation and gave a demonstration to museum members in conjunction with the opening of Clocks and Clouds: The Architecture of Escher GuneWardena exhibition.


2017.06.02.  Forest Cloud for Exposition Ubiquitaire - Closing ceremony ikebana performance at the Department of Architecture, EPFL (The École polytechnique  fédérale de Lausanne / Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne, Switzerland.  Concluding a year-long guest professorship, Ravi organized a large-scale ikebana installation, created live for an audience in the Main Hall of the school, accompanied by “Overture de gongs” music performance by MANSLAB.


2015. 10. Huntington Library and Gardens Annual Orchid Show, October 2015. Ravi was part of Sogetsu team invited by the Huntington to create a two large group arrangement using orchids which both won awards from the Huntington Jury.  Sogetsu has been invited to participate every year since then.



2015. 03.  Haruko Takeichi – Contemporary Ikebana. Assisted Takeichi sensei in planning and curating three events in celebration of her 25th Anniversary as an ikebana teacher:(1) A large ikebana display at the Hammer Museum, April 2015 (2) A group exhibition at the historic Neutra VDL House; and (3)Takeichi Group Exhibition at the Doizaki Gallery, JACCC in March 2016.


2013. 05. Sogetsu 9 NASS (North American Sogetsu Seminar). Planning team for seminar and participant as group of assistants in Akane Teshigahara Iemoto Live performance at JW Marriott.  Ravi was chair of the design team, responsible for developing the event logo and all graphic design material for the seminar, and in charge of publicity for the event.  Ravi also assisted Kitajima sensei and the Men’s Class in large scale group arrangements at Descanso Gardens, the final event of the seminar.


2013. 04. Anytime, Anywhere, by Anyone - Sogetsu Ikebana Demonstration at Hammer Museum.  Along with his sensei, Haruko Takeichi, and fellow student Reiko Yamagata, Ravi presented a demonstration using unconventional materials – plastic tubing with Icelandic Poppies.  Finished arrangements were placed in public areas of the museum.


2012. 12.  Ikebana Kit by Escher GuneWardena.  A limited edition kit consisting of a suiban (ikebana container), a kenzan (flower holder) and a bronze branch created by Ravi Gunewardena and Frank Escher were commissioned as the 2012 Norton Family Christmas Art Project, by the Norton Family Foundation.


2012. 12. Kadomatsu New Year Arrangements at the Huntington 2013.  Ravi coordinated introductions to the Director of Botanical Gardens at the Huntington, establishing a collaborative relationship between the Huntington and Sogetsu. Invitation to create Kadomatsu was the first of several events to follow.


2012.04. Flowers for Pauline - an ikebana exhibition at the MAK Center for Art and Architecture, Los Angeles at the Schindler House.  Ravi organized and co-curated an exhibition with the Sogetsu senseis and students at the historic home of architect Rudolph Schindler and his wife Pauline Schindler, with 15 exhibitors, a large bamboo construction supervised by Takeichi, Arao and Miyahara sensei, and an ikebana demonstration with 6 participants.


2011. 04. Sogetsu 25th Anniversary Exhibition and Workshops at JANM. Participant in the group of assistants to Kawana sensei in harvesting of plant material and in the final stage demonstration event.  Assisted local Sogetsu senseis in planning and preparation of workshops.


2009-2022. Sogetsu Annual Katen at JANM and JACCC and Obon Katen at Zenshuji.  Ravi has participated in Annual Sogetsu exhibitions and Obon exhibitions since 2009, except for a few years while traveling abroad. The most recent was the annual katen in November 2018 with the theme Mystique/神秘(Shimpi).




Ikebana Lectures and Workshops:


The Art of Sogetsu, lecture and workshop for Prof. Miya Elise Desjardin’s course on Japanese Design History, at Departments of East Asian Languages and Cultures & Art History

University of Southern California, November 2022, November 2021 and May 2021.


UCI Visiting Artist Lecture Series: Ravi GuneWardena / Miles Coolidge with Respondent: Bert Winther-Tamaki.  A double artist lecture by Ravi GuneWardena and Miles Coolidge, who speak on their individual work in ikebana and photography, respectively, with a response by Bert Winther-Tamaki. Tuesday, March 2, 2021 - 12:00pm


The Art of Sogetsu, Lecture and ikebana workshop for SCI-ARC Ball Nogues MAD Studio.  Southern California Institute of Architecture, Los Angeles.  September, 2019.


The Art of Sogetsu, Lecture  at the Sogetsu Los Angeles Branch Annual Luncheon, April 2019.

Presented a lecture tracing the 90-year history of collaborations with artists of Sogetsu Kaikan in Tokyo.


Pile Up - an Ikebana Workshop. March 2018 at WuHo Gallery, Hollywood.

Demonstration and Class for Woodbury University Architecture and Interior Design Students.


BLACK: Exploring the Beauty of Darkness - Manabuno Kai/Learning Workshop at Zenshuji, September 2017. Presented a class to Sogetsu Members on ikebana using the color black or dark plant materials, creating dark moods or contrasting darkness with fresh greens and flowers, exploring the depth and beauty that arises from using dark forms and materials. 


Japanese Floral Arrangement, Ikebana Workshop with Haruko Takeichi, December 2017 & September 2018. Poketo Project Space at Line Hotel and ROW DTLA. Presented a lecture on the history of Sogetsu and assisted Takeichi sensei with the workshop.


Floating Cloud Ikebana - Lessons by Ravi GuneWardena at Freehand Hotel, Los Angeles, September and October 2017 – Classes 2017


Floating Cloud Ikebana - Lessons by Ravi GuneWardena at RCH Studio –Lecture and Classes in August and October 2017 for a group of architects at their studio.


Abstract Ikebana - Manabuno Kai/Learning Workshop at Zenshuji, August 2015. Presented a class to Sogetsu Members on creating ikebana inspired by an abstract work of art.


Leaf, Paper, Bark - Manabuno Kai/Learning Workshop at Zenshuji, August 2015. Presented a class to Sogetsu Members on Experimenting with the nature of thin, flat materials in ikebana.


Ikebana Class: Inspired by the creations of Hermès “Petit h”, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Costa Mesa, June 2014.  At the invitation of Hermès fashion house, Paris, Ravi organized an ikebana demonstration and workshop using remnants from the Hermès production line (fine leathers, silks, ribbons and buckles) with Takeichi sensei, and others.


Ikebana Workshop for DeLAB - Design East of La Brea, December, 2013.  An introductory ikebana class for art and design enthusiasts, hosted by HUGE, public relations/branding agency.



Exhibition Design and Large-scale Installations:


Common Ground, an ikebana installation by Sogetsu Los Angeles in collaboration with artist Adam Silverman at JACCC (the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center) Los Angeles, presented 56 arrangements representing the fifty state and six territories of the United States, in 56 ceramic vessels made by Silverman in March – April, 2022.  A landscape of shifting plates built from stacks of corrugated cardboard formed the plinths for the ikebana works, arranged in a configuration reflecting the geography of the United States. The exhibition was co-curated by Adam Silverman and Ravi GuneWardena.


Hermès "Petit h” Selling Exhibition, incorporating ikebana, for Hermès, Paris, at the MAK Center for Art & Architecture and at Hermès South Coast Plaza, June 2014.


Clouds, REDCAT/Cal Arts Gala installation, honoring Herb Alpert, March 2014.  With Escher GuneWardena Architecture, Ravi designed and oversaw the installation of a 60-foot wide cluster of clouds made of an aluminum structure using ikebana cane and bamboo assembly techniques, incorporating living flowers and unconventional materials.  The clouds hovered above the audience, enhanced by changing light effects throughout the evening performance.


Living Flowers: Ikebana and Contemporary Art.  The 2008 exhibition at JANM (Japanese American National Museum), curated by Karin Higa, presented ikebana arrangements shown alongside contemporary art.  Escher GuneWardena Architecture developed the exhibition design concept with Karin Higa, incorporating various forms of Japanese space defining elements (byobu, manmaku, tokonoma) all assembled from types of linen fabric, and oversaw the installation.


Other Art-related Exhibition Design:  Through his office, Escher GuneWardena Architecture, Ravi has been involved in exhibition design at over 30 art institutions (museums and galleries) over the past 20 years. In 2009, they designed Blum & Poe in Culver City Arts District. In 2017 his firm designed Little Review, artist Sharon Lockhart’s installation in the Polish Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, and in 2018, The Jeweled Isle: Art from Sri Lanka at LACMA, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.





Common Ground – Sogetsu Los Angeles / Adam Silverman. Aya Muto, Casa Brutus, Tokyo, Japan, April 2022.


Common Ground – Sogetsu Los Angeles / Adam Silverman. SO Magazine, Sogetsu, Tokyo, Japan, Fall 2022.


Ikebana, Explained: A Simple Guide to the Japanese Art of Flower Arranging.  Christine Lennon, Sunset Magazine, 2021.


Adam Silverman / Ravi GuneWardena –The Flower Issue. Aya Muto, Casa Brutus, Tokyo, Japan, April 2019.


Ikebana – Frank Escher and Ravi GuneWardena.  Marco Bakker, Alexandre Blanc, Pauline Seigneur, Leentje Walliser. In Flagranti, Magma & Principes Series by MANSLAB. École polytechnique  fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland. 2017.


Clocks and Clouds: The Architecture of Escher GuneWardena.  Lilian Pfaff. Birkhauser Architecture, 1st edition (June, 2017).


Iemoto Ikebana Live: Star of Japanese Flower Arranging Rocks Los Angeles.  Frances Anderton, Design and Architecture, KCRW. Apr. 25, 2013




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