The inner power of the Haiku

The inner power of the Haiku

It’s been two years since the Greatest East Tohoku Earthquake occurred. Our lives are going on day per day quickly, we change and make new experiences…In the same way are growing up the Japanese children who lost their families during the catastrophe of the 11th March 2011.

Growing up

Also Carolina Khouri, with her ongoing project in support of the Momo-Kaki Orphans Fund. Carolina’s painting exhibition is called Haiku Prelude-Haiku Kami (click here to read the previous article about it by Bello2Buono), and it sounds like a sad omen to the Japanese victims of the tsunami. But now it can save them, again and again.

carolina khouri

Ancestral Images

The painter took inspiration from the ancestral poetry of Japan, the haiku, a kind of short poem made in 17th syllables. After, she developed the idea of linking words, colors and images together, expressing the emotion given by the poem, exactly as the Haiga artistic movement use to do.


Actually, Carolina Khouri’s project started more than two years ago, when this Polish-Lebanese artist took the Japanese poetry of the haiku and express it through her way of painting. Then the tragedy happened…and it has been a short step from one thing to another.

The Prelude

Bello2Buono met Carolina Khouri exactly one year ago, we first wrote about here, without imagine that this project would have gone so further. Last year Carolina’s exhibition was at the prelude, today it seems to have some divine power in it. The haiku together with the abstract paints have something surreal in them, so close to the God’s entities (Kami in Japanese).

The Kami

But let’s ask directly to Carolina Kohuri all the details about here ongoing project in prize of the Japanese people and culture.


Dear Carolina, after one year from the first opening of Haiku Prelude – Haiku Kami, your ongoing project is still carrying and becoming bigger and bigger. What did change from 2011?

This is almost two years from the date when the Great East Tohoku Earthquake happened and when I dedicated the series to the victims of the tragedy.

At 11 March 2011 Haiku Prelude – Haiku Kami project’s exhibition and the book launch of the series, marked the first anniversary of the tragic events.  Exhibition in Feb/Mar 2013 marked second anniversary.

Every exhibition is a new experience. In many ways the display made this exhibition very new and different from the previous one. It was very focused and four walls was arranged in the clear order, keeping harmony and balance.

What do you actually mean with ongoing project? Which are your aims? Which is your final goal?

The main aim of the project is to commemorate the victims of the earthquake and tsunami through the exhibition of the series and support Momo – Kaki Orphans Fund every year (proceeds from the book are donated to the Fund).

I hope the exhibition will visit another cities in another countries as well and it will keep on going for maximum next eight years. The time frame is related to the activity of the Fund, which supports a scholarship of the orphans for ten years.

How did you discover the Japanese form of poetry haiku? Why did you choose to link your culture and artistic interest with the Japanese culture?

In my art practise I am guided by my intuition. I often relay on what is happening at the particular moment. Before I started the first painting of the series I did not know exactly what I am aiming but when the painting was done I knew that what I see is haiku. The decision was made without my deliberate intention.

Seeing the first painting of the series remind me the moment when I first read Bashō, years ago, when I was a student. I was mesmerized. The richness of haiku simplicity stroked me and this fascination still inspires me.

Carolina Kohuri

In order to work with a type of poetry as the haiku I guess you had to read a lot the Japanese poetic texts. Which Japanese painter, writer or artist did inspired you more?

I never had enough time to study deeper Japanese culture, which is so different then western. I know the most famous names like Hokusai,Utamaro or Kusama.

Similar with haiku: Basho, Buson and Ike Taiga and some modern like InahataTeiko, Takaha Shugyo or Kuniharu Shimizuhaiga painter (who wrote the forward for the book of the series).  I think Japanese masters in art, literature or haiku are my trustful teachers. For me Japanese culture is totally phenomenal.


How did you get into the haiku form of poetry written by Western artists? Which one inspires you more?

When I first read western haiku I could not feel the depth of the Japanese haiku. It was less enigmatic and more poetic. Yet it was very first impression. These two cultures are so different and there is no need to look for XVI century Japan in XXI century western world. Haiku in the West has relatively short history and minimalism has something we still learn and I think we are doing very well. Great introduction to haiku in the ‘Haiku Prelude – Haiku Kami’ book, did write haiku writer Herman Van Rompuy (President of European Council).The authors, whom I chosen for the book inspire me a lot and the selection process was indeed difficult.

Why and How did you choose to connect your way of doing art with the tsunami tragedy of the March 2011 happened in Japan?

The first painting of the series I created over one year before the tragedy of March 2011 in Japan. I did not know then, what finally I was doing it for.  At that moment it was just a next series. The relation between haiku and Japan is obvious. At 11th March 2010 I heard about earthquake and tsunami (later nuclear disaster in Fukushima). The news moved me deeply. It was spontaneous and intuitive act to dedicate my creation inspired by haiku to the victims in Japan.


Talking more specifically about your pieces of art, which are basically an abstract interpretation of the emotion given by the poetry. How do you feel they are connected with the haiku form of poetry?

In ‘Haiku Prelude – Haiku Kami’ series I explore the feelings that come from the haiku. The colours and the composition is an essence of abstract style. I paint haiku that I have in mind, the though of the haiku and the feelings. I paint the words and the total impression made on me by this haiku. Again, it is intuitive impulse.

I read one haiku few times and each time I find little unveiled detail.  Abstract art has the same qualities… there is always something unseen before.

From what I know, the Japanese artists of the Edo period who use to paint and write poetry on the same piece of art were extremely figurative. How do you interpret your paintings?

Haiku Prelude – Haiku Kami series do not interpret haiku. The paintings are inspired by haiku. They are full of haiku inner power and energy. I think this is what is all about.

Thank you Carolina, you made us commemorate the Japanese disaster with different eyes and soul…exactly as your are doing through your pieces of art. This is extremely moving, and essential in order to help Japanese children to have faith and hope for their lives and the future of their Country! 

Wanna support this ongoing project? It's really simple, you just need to pursue Carolina Kohuri's exhibition book. Click here for more details.
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