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“Glass Virtuoso” Rui Sasaki’s New Exhibition to Debut at Portland Japanese Garden

PORTLAND, Ore. – February 27, 2023 – Portland Japanese Garden is delighted to share that its first new art exhibition of 2023, starting March 18, will feature the work of Japan Institute’s inaugural Artist-in-Residence, Rui Sasaki. Hailed as a “glass virtuoso” by The New York Times, Sasaki made two separate journeys east from her native Japan to collect plant life from Portland Japanese Garden to create a site-specific experience.

Titled Subtle Intimacy: Here and There, Sasaki is creating an immersive experience where transparent impressions of the Garden’s foliage are forever preserved in panes of clear glass. Simultaneously scientific and ethereal, Sasaki doesn’t focus on individual works but instead combines pieces into an installation that creates an immersive experience for its viewers. The glass panels that will make up the installation in Portland Japanese Garden’s Pavilion will be composed of plants both from Portland and Sasaki’s neighborhood in Kanazawa.

Japan Institute’s first Artist-in-Residence, Rui Sasaki. Photo by Meg Nanna.

Aki Nakanishi, Arlene Schnitzer Curator of Culture, Art, and Education, noted that the goal of Japan Institute’s Artist-in-Residence program is, “To give world-class artists an opportunity to immerse themselves in everything that this great Pacific Northwest has to offer while exposing the local arts community to each artist’s unique sensibilities through organic dialogue.” This program will provide the Portland community the opportunity to engage with artists from Japan as they work in our neighborhood with local materials, allowing members and visitors to experience Portland Japanese Garden from a fresh perspective. Nakanishi notes, “This residency is a critical part of the constant evolution of the Garden and its vision.”

Japan Institute Artist-in-Residence Rui Sasaki goes through plant cuttings at Bullseye Glass Co. Photo by Quincy Woo.

Subtle Intimacy: Here and There opens Saturday, March 18 and runs through Monday, June 12 and is included in admission to Portland Japanese Garden. This project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.

More Information on Rui Sasaki

Hours and Admission

Visual Assets

Images can be found in this Dropbox folder. Photographer name is in the file name. Please stylize the credit as “Courtesy of Portland Japanese Garden, photo by [fill in name].”

Media Contact

Will Lerner, Communications Specialist | (503) 542-9351 |

About Japan Institute

Japan Institute was established in 2022 as a sibling organization of Portland Japanese Garden. As an international hub for world leaders, artists, gardeners, and scholars, the Japan Institute organizes symposia, gatherings, and experiences through its three programming centers: the International Exchange Forum, the International Japanese Garden Training Center, and the Global Center for Culture and Art. Japan Institute and Portland Japanese Garden share in the mission of Inspiring Harmony & Peace, and the vision to be a leading global voice for cultural understanding, in pursuit of a more peaceful, sustainable world.

About Portland Japanese Garden 

Portland Japanese Garden is a nonprofit organization originally founded in 1963 as a place for cross-cultural understanding following World War II. A hallmark in the City of Portland, the Garden was founded on the ideals of peace and mutual understanding between peoples and cultures. Portland Japanese Garden is considered the most authentic Japanese garden outside of Japan and the foremost Japanese cultural organization in North America.