Erika Kobayashi is a Brazilian performer artist, an independent researcher specialising in Japanese culture and aesthetics, a sociologist, and a journalist. She participated in the Intensive Program in Body and Movement Studies at c.e.m. – centro em movimento (Lisbon, Portugal, 2015), an artistic program where she featured the performance Letras em dança (Letters in dance) in the Pedras’15 Festival. Since 2002, Erika has studied Zen practices and has performed the Japanese tea ceremony for seven years. Erika aims to use tea as a way to pause and breathe in big cities and promotes tea gatherings in urban spaces, gardens, museums and cultural spaces (Museum Oscar Niemeyer, Inhotim, Japan House SP). Her performances combine the state of presence practised by Zen, with body and movement investigation, dance studies, exploring the bonds between body-place-people and promoting tea rituals silently influenced by the syncretism of Brazilian religious practices.
Masahito Tame has practised the tea ceremony for almost 40 years and was an active member of Urasenke Tankōkai Federation Youth Division in his 20s. At age 40 he renounced worldly affairs and commenced life as a mendicant tea monk, living from alms for tea. Now in his 60s, Tame san is part of the cultural landscape along the Kamo River in Kyoto, where he drives a moving teahouse and performs ‘Kamo-cha’ along the river. He refers to his practice as his ‘TEAcosystem’, which comprises the roots – peace, wellbeing, self-respect, diversity and ecology, and the branches – temae or forms of tea preparation, including etiquette, tea utensils and creativity. Tame san cultivates rare fruit in the ever-changing, spiritually profound world of tea. He believes world peace begins with respect for oneself and that periods of hardship cultivate life energy and perfect the soul.
Born in Dinghai and raised in Oslo, Ying Christin Le believes art is the essence of life and an ontological process itself. After years of traveling around the world and accomplishing her studies in fine art and relational aesthetics in London, she founded Thirsty Moon in Berlin with artist Paul Sochacki, a tea art space specializing in Pu Erh leaves from native ancient tea trees in Yunnan. At Thirsty Moon, Ying hosts workshops focused on Chinese Cha Dao, using tea as the medium for daily affection and expansion to our bodily sensors. For her, the nature of the leaves and the memories being processed when the body resonates with intelligent of the tea plants are the most interesting aspect of the way we can drink tea. ThirstyMoon is deeply interested in how working with tea and sharing tea as a meditative practice have shaped and continue to contribute to peaceful thoughts and collective affections for the cultures around the world.
Born in Hyogo, Japan, Yumi Umiumare is an established butoh dancer and choreographer from Australia who draws creative inspiration from ritual, magic and invisibility through dance and tea ceremony. For more than 25 years, Yumi has created a distinctive style of works renowned for provoking visceral emotions and cultural identities. Yumi’s works have featured in numerous festivals, and in dance, theatre and film productions throughout Australia, Japan, Europe, New Zealand, South East Asia and South America, receiving critical acclaim and garnering several Australian Green Room awards. Her own major production credits include DasSHOKU Butoh Cabaret Series (1999-2014), EnTrance (2009-2012) and the recent PopUp Tearoom series, which has been performed and adapted to over 20 locations nationally and internationally, including in Australia, Japan, Germany, the Czech Republic, Italy and Poland, Malaysia, the Philippines, Timor-Leste and Hong Kong. Yumi was an Australia Council for the Arts fellowship recipient (2015-16) and the 2017 winner of the Green Room Awards Geoffrey Milne Memorial Award for her contribution to Contemporary and Experimental Performance.
Mai Ueda is an uncompromising artist-as-human. She cherishes art as life, and life as art. In 2000, Mai co-founded NEEN, an art movement concerned with the poetic potential of the internet and technology. Her art practice crosses platforms, including performance, drawing, poetry and installation, and she finds comfort working with non-material mediums. In 2011 Mai rediscovered her Japanese roots through Zen and the tradition of the tea ceremony, and it has since become the core of her practice. She believes the tea ceremony can bring people together to connect and experience a heightened awareness that makes shared moments more enjoyable. Mai has exhibited in museums and institutions around the world, including at the National Gallery of Singapore for the opening of Rirkrit Tiravanija’s Roof Garden (2018), Kyoto Art Center (2017), Okayama Art Summit (2016), Kochi-Muziris Biennale (2014), MONA Tasmania (2013), MACRO Rome (2012), Venice Biennale (2009) and Seoul Biennial 2004. Several publications are dedicated to her poetry, drawings and songs. She is a co-founder of the World Tea Gathering – a community of tea artists who explore the possibilities and meaning of tea as an art form.
Adam Wojciński has revolutionised the archetypal tea master for the 21st century. His tea gatherings are a dynamic play in artistic practices studied, borrowed and re-interpreted from disparate cultures around the world. Adam often employs elements of butoh, poetry, shibari, esoteric Buddhism, shamanism, the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, and long-durational performance in his practice. He travels the world teaching and performing tea ritual. In 2014 he co-founded the World Tea Gathering, a movement that explores tea as a universal culture promoting ‘togetherness’. Adam is highly ranked in his traditional tea school and in formal circles of Japanese tea ceremony. This makes his divergences from tradition all the more intriguing and profound. The themes explored in Adam’s art examine duality and the ephemeral beauty of life. Through the artist's communion between the old and new he seeks to elevate and disseminate timeless truth, wisdom, beauty, unity, sensuality and peace.
Souheki Mori was born in Chiba, Japan. She learned under the Japan Association of the Tea Ceremony and was certified as a Japanese tea ceremony master in April of 2005, and holds the title of Jufukuan.
Upon coming to New York, she set up Tea Whisk, an organization that introduces the beauty of the Japanese Tea Ceremony to America with Junya Mori. Mori believes that within the tea ceremony is a force invisible and precious, and that one can achieve spiritual growth through practicing tea.
In 1989 Alberto began the practice of Zen. Alberto came to chanoyu through Zen Buddhism. Since commencing his training in chanoyu in 1993, Alberto has been instrumental in introducing the Way of Tea into the fashion and art culture of Milan. He is at home mixing both contemporary art and traditional Italian menswear with the Way of Tea. Alberto is widely respected by his peers in the international chanoyu community. In 2008 his interest in Japanese culture moved him to create the Cultural Association Giappone in Italia, of which he is President. Cultural Association Giappone in Italia promotes the knowledge of Japanese culture in Italy. Its main communication tool is its web site and its Facebook page that, beside hosting subjects able to spread in their own fields the Japanese culture and art (tea ceremony, Zen, Noh theatre, ikebana, haiku) in a serious and deep way, offers a full outline of the numerous artistic proposals that enrich the Italian cultural life.
Tea master Allan Halyk is a Chado sensei in the Urasenke tradition of the Japanese Way of Tea. From 2013 Allan has been the resident tea master profiling the Way of Tea in a performance art instillation at Tasmania’s Museum of Old and New Art( MONA). Allan is a qualified Iyengar yoga teacher who combines the synchronistic harmony of yoga and tea as part of his teachings. He is one of the first tea masters to combine the practices of yoga and Japanese tea ceremony. Allan is fascinated by the play of shadows in the tea room and the shadows our life experience project onto our everyday experiences. The tea ceremony and yoga are practices that must be practised sincerely to bring
our innermost being into resonance with our beings on a physical plane, thus bringing ourself fully into light present for oneself and others.
Pierre Sernet studied art at the Ateliers du Carrousel of the Musée du Louvre, Paris. In his early twenties, after working in photography for several years, he moved to the United States, where he pursued a successful business career. His activities included the creation of the first, and what was to become the largest, fine arts database in the world—Artnet.com. Since returning to his art-making, he has performed and exhibited in major galleries and museums in the United States and abroad.
With his shaved head, red body paint, and red costumes, Ken Hamazaki is known in Osaka’s Minami Senba district as “The Red Man”.
When he was twenty years old, Hamazaki traveled to England and after returning to Japan, opened a gallery to display his artwork in 1992 in Osaka’s Higashi Shinsaibashi area. In 1997, he moved the gallery to Minami Senba, painted the exterior and interior completely red and named it the Ken Hamazaki Museum of Contemporary Art, a title that, in Japanese, has the aggrandizing secondary meaning of the Hamazaki Prefectural Museum of Contemporary Art. In addition to holding exhibitions, his gallery sells interior decorative items and accessories, suggesting a fusion of art and lifestyle.
Hamazaki is involved in a wide range of activities both in Japan and abroad, including performing his Red Tea Ceremony and helping young artists produce their work. In his “Maze Paintings,” Hamazaki uses the idea of a labyrinth to depict the outline or shadow of celebrities. In his “Puzzle Paintings,” which often use the image of the Mona Lisa, he paints on each individual puzzle piece and assembles the puzzle into a single artwork. Hamazaki’s work is rich in playfulness and grants us a fresh perspective on images that we might otherwise never have seen.
Akihiro Nikaido is a Japanese ceramic artist based in Mashiko, a town famous for its thriving ceramic art.
Nikaido explores his ideas of art through Japanese aesthetics. His work is a meditation on the thought that distinctly Japanese beauty is revealed through the use of vessels.
Nikaido takes an interest in Tea as an art that stimulates the five senses. He makes works to harness the sensorial experiences of a tea gathering, and has actively worked many times with tea masters, calligraphers, sweet makers and chefs to create tea gatherings that enrich the senses.
Nikaido’s works interweave both the beauty of symmetry and beauty of asymmetry.
He evokes the beauty of symmetry through suggesting the dynamics of celestial bodies and the flow of time. He inspires the beauty of asymmetry through evoking the rawness of earth bodies and erosion.
1980 Born in Vienna in Austria
1998 Graduated from the high school of Art in Kyoto. Major is Urushi Arts.
2002 Studied about at the Tokai-University in Japan. Major is Art-design.
2002-2005 Studied the restoring technique under Tomizo.(Lacquer Artist and also His father)
2006-2008 Studied the Makie technique under Akira Takeda(Makie Master) in Kyoto.
2009 Independent and do mainly restoring works.
2012 Move to New York
2014 Exhibition + Lecture “The Aesthetics of Restoration” at Sara Japanese Pottery in NY
Lecture at Urasenke Chanoyu Center of New York
Workshop at Metropolitan Museum
Photographer and visual artist Ryo Yamauchi will be documenting the inaugural World Tea Gathering. Her interest lies in our perception of time and space; through photography, she explores how we humans embrace and interact with their surrounding environment. Although her initial working field is landscape photography, she does not limit the genre or media of practice and always aims to produce powerful imagery that tells rich stories.