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Media Release

For Immediate Release | April 19, 2018

Bonsai: Generations of Growth

The Japan Foundation, Sydney presents Bonsai: Generations of Growth, an exhibition featuring the works of two generations of Sydney-based practitioners, Megumi and Alex Bennett. Showing for one week only from April 30 to May 5, 2018 at The Japan Foundation Gallery, located in Sydney’s Chippendale.


Bonsai: Generations of Growth
April 30 – May 5, 2018

One of Australia’s top bonsai artists, Megumi has been practising for over 40 years and is a qualified instructor, recognised by Japan’s Nippon Bonsai Association. Alex is a professional horticulturalist and bonsai teacher with over 23 years’ experience. Their work expresses the Japanese tradition of bonsai in Australian native plants, reflecting their Japanese backgrounds embracing Australian identity.

Cultivating miniaturised trees across a range of species, Megumi and Alex Bennett’s collection of bonsai show a range of techniques uniquely in tune with their Australian environment. While their traditional training in Japan instilled knowledge based on Japan’s distinct seasons, weather patterns and species selection, the two generations of bonsai practitioners have translated this knowledge to the Australian context by experimenting with local species and techniques over decades.

The exhibition features miniature versions of the Port Jackson Fig—well known and loved trees in Sydney streets—sculpted in playful forms.

Join the artists for the opening reception and bonsai demonstration on Tuesday, May 1 from 6:30pm.

Above photos by Adrian Boddy.

Opening Reception & Demonstration

Bonsai Basics
Tuesday, May 1 | 6:30pm – 7:30pm

As part of the opening reception, Megumi and Alex Bennett will conduct and introductory demonstration to the Japanese practice of bonsai. The demonstration will highlight different Australian species (with a focus on native figs), which are suitable for bonsai practice in Australia. The artists will discuss the styling process for bonsai plants and the possibilities of shapes and sizes with different species. Learn practical tips through their live demonstration of techniques for growing and caring for bonsai, such as wiring, pruning and re-potting.

Photo by Adrian Boddy.


Megumi Bennett has been practicing bonsai for over 40 years. After observing her grandfather tending to his bonsai plants, Megumi studied the tradition in Japan, along with ikebana (the Japanese flower arranging tradition). After migrating to Australia in 1974, her bonsai training took root here, and she adapted her repertoire to the unique conditions of botanic life, weather, and seasonal changes in Australia. In 1999 Megumi founded the Bonsai Society of Sydney Inc., she is also a member of the Nippon Bonsai Association and Ikebana International. In 2008 Megumi received her bonsai instructor’s qualification from the Nippon Bonsai Association, Japan and was the first non-Japan residing practitioner to receive this accolade.


Alex Bennett, Megumi’s son, was drawn to bonsai at a young age by the balance of creative expression and working outdoors. Alex’s bonsai skills were refined in 2000, through two years of intensive bonsai training as an apprentice at the pre-eminent bonsai nursery Mansei-en in Omiya, Japan. He now practices as a professional horticulturalist and bonsai teacher with over 23 years’ experience.


Cultivated in pots, bonsai are miniature trees reared in a style which conjures images of its full-grown counterparts in nature, or evokes feelings in its viewers. Practitioners are attuned to weather and climate, as well as their bonsai’s natural traits and their needs in order to sculpt a naturally proportioned tree that looks untouched by human hands. Over time, bonsai are said to gradually reflect their cultivator’s mind, and eventually their character.

Editor’s Notes
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The Japan Foundation Gallery
Level 4, Central Park
28 Broadway, Chippendale 2008
(Access via lifts)

Gallery Hours

Mon: 11am-8pm
Tue-Thu: 10am-8pm
Fri: 10am-6pm
Sat: 10am-1pm

Media Enquiries

Jessica Chow
(02) 8239 0055


Free; no bookings required.

General Enquiries

(02) 8239 0055

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