Mandeville exhibit: Haiku + calligraphy = haiga

Publication Date
A piece of Haiku and Calligraphy done by Alison Woolpert

Ion Codrescu, Winter Sky...(Alison Woolpert), ink on paper, 16 1/2 x 11 3/4 inches

“Ion Codrescu: Haiga Painting,” an exhibition of a Japanese genre that mixes image and haiku, is on view at the Mandeville Gallery through Nov.


The show features 30 works by Codrescu, a Romanian-born poet, artist, essayist and educator.

“Composing a haiga painting is a way to emphasize the power and the content of haiku poetry because each word has the force of a brush stroke,” says Codrescu, who teaches the history of art, creativity in art and comparative art at the Ovidius University of Constantza, Romania.

Haiga poems and paintings are based on simple yet often profound observations of the everyday world. Common subjects range from the moon and rooftops to Mount Fuji, while styles vary greatly, from formal Kanō school influences to minimalist Zen painting.

“To juxtapose poetry and painting on the same space is a challenge for any artist from the ancient time,” says Codrescu. “Both for painting and poetry we need harmony, contrast, rhythm, accents, ideas, emotion, and expressiveness.”

Through this art form, he says, “I can make a bridge between the poet and the artist I am.”

Codrescu’s poems, essays and articles have been published in 19 countries and 13 languages, and he has illustrated more than 100 books, magazines and newspapers. His ink drawings have been exhibited in Japan and throughout Europe, and his paintings are held in private collections and state museums in many countries.

He holds a Ph. D. in visual arts at the National University of Arts in Bucharest.

He has received numerous awards, including the Akiyama Scholarship, Japan (1990); the Kokushikan University Scholarship, Tokyo (1998); the Tyrone Guthrie Centre Bursary, Ireland (1998); the Art and Nature Centre Bursary, Farrera, Spain (1999); and the Japan Foundation Scholarship, Tokyo (2000).

In the 1990s, Codrescu founded the Constantza Haiku Society of Romania, the international haiku journal Albatross, the Constantza International Haiku Festival and the Constantza National Haiku Conference. In 2004, he created the international haiku journal Hermitage.

The Mandeville Gallery exhibition is being held in conjunction with Haiku North America 2015.

The Oct. 14-18 conference will feature presentations, workshops, performances and more on campus and at the Desmond Hotel in Colonie. Conference coordinator is Hilary Tann, the John Howard Payne Professor of Music.

Co-sponsors include the departments of Visual Arts and Asian Studies, and Interdisciplinary Studies. For more information on the conference, please click here.