Skip to content

Update from the Gallery regarding COVID-19

The Art Gallery of New South Wales is open. We are observing strict physical distancing and hygiene measures to protect the health of visitors and staff and minimise the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). Read the latest visit information




Contemporary art

Asian art

View More:


Elephant & Buckle



Sugito Hiroshi


1970 -


Hiroshi Sugito was born in 1970 in Nagoya, and studied at the Aichi Prefectural University of the Arts, Japan. From the age of three, he spent most of his younger years in the United States and returned to Japan in 1988. Yoshitomo Nara was his teacher at one point and gave him drawing lessons. They had discussed that one day they would exhibit together and this finally happened in the 2004 exhibition Yoshitomo Nara & Hiroshi Sugito. Over the Rainbow, in Germany.

As part of his training Sugito studied nihonga, traditional style Japanese painting which during the Meiji period in the 19th century combined Japanese traditional painting techniques with aspects of western artistic sensibilities. As such his work often comments on the reciprocal influences of both Japanese and western art traditions. He avoids linear perspective, pays attention to and is generous with the use of empty space and often creates spatial illusions. He also plays with figuration and geometric abstraction. He has said of his work: ‘I guess invisible things should be kept invisible and unexplainable be kept unexplainable. When something appears or is put in, something disappears from the same moment. I am just chasing them like an endless game’. (Hainley 1999)

His work is often considered kawaii (cute) as with this figure of an elephant standing at full height with a buckle that is given further prominence in the small separate abstract painting beside it.

Bruce Hainley, ‘Hiroshi Sugito’, 3 Mar 1999.
Yoshitomo Nara & Yoshitomo Nara & Hiroshi Sugito. Over the Rainbow, Hatje Cantz, 2004.




Media category

Mixed media painting

Materials used

diptych: synthetic polymer paint, pigment and graphite on paper on canvas


dimensions variable :

a - elephant, 180 x 270 cm

b - buckle, 35 x 33 cm


Gift of Geoff Ainsworth AM 2018. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Sugito Hiroshi

Works in the collection