It is said that the world currently possesses 5 bonsai masters, 4 of them are Japanese, and 1 of them is surprisingly Indonesian. He is Robert Steven.
Robert Steven was born in North Sumatra in 1958. He started creating and collecting bonsai in 1979, and currently has a permanent exhibit center where he displays his bonsai collection of over 300 in a wide variety of species. He is a keen promoter of “Shushe Penjing,” “Shuihan Penjing” and “Chinese Rock Penjing,” as well as of expressionistic and surrealistic bonsai styles. In creating a bonsai or penjing, Robert believes that “we should involve our emotion to express our character and message in order to give the ’soul’ to the tree.”
He conducts many bonsai and penjing lectures and demonstrations abroad and appears on a national TV program. Robert writes bonsai and penjing articles for newspapers and magazines, and is a columnist for the Readers Forum in BCI magazine. He is currently co-authoring a book entitled “Bonsai Art, the Styles, Appreciation & Technique.”
Robert has won more than 50 competition awards nationally and internationally, including: Entry Award of 2000 JAL World Bonsai Contest; Entry Award of 2000 Ben Oki International Design Award; Runner-up Winner of 2001 Ben Oki International Design Award; First Winner of 2001 Certre Award Competition; Runner-up Winner of 2002 Ben Oki International Design Award; Runner-up Winner of 2002 Certre Award Competition; Entry Award of 2003 JAL World Bonsai Contest; and Runner-up Winner of World Bonsai Contest 2003.
He is very active in national and international bonsai organizations. He is the Director of Public Relations & International Affairs of the Indonesian Bonsai Society (PPBI); the Secretary General of the Asia-Pacific Bonsai Friendship Federation (ABFF); a Director of Bonsai Clubs International (BCI) (2002-2004); PPBI’s Ambassador to BCI; a member of the Jury of PPBI doing domestic and international bonsai judging; and the Coordinator of the “Ismail Saleh Award,” an international Bonsai Photo Contest.
Robert Steven has been involved in the art of penjing since 1979 and has won more than 50 competition awards nationally and internationally. He is also very active in national and international bonsai and penjing organizations. His recent book Vision of My Soul brings his thoughts and his love for the art into the light they well deserve. Robert’s profile here at the Art of Bonsai Project gives a closer view of his unique outlook.
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