Understanding Hiroe Swen and her ceramics: Essays

Essay by Grace Cochrane

Hiroe Swen: Australian Heroine!
A context for her influential career

Over more than 50 years, Hiroe (nee Takebe) Swen has been a major inspiration to those working in Australian studio ceramics, bringing a particular perspective that was unusual at its outset and has remained a significant example to others ever since. .

Essay by Chiaki Ajioka

Hiroe Swen in Japan: pre-Australian years

Early life to the 1950s

Hiroe Swen was born in 1934 in Kyoto, as the elder of two daughters of the Takebe family.[i] For over a thousand years Kyoto was the centre of arts and culture, and the Takebe family had lived there for generations..

Essay by Alan Watt

My encounter with Hiroe Swen

I first came across Hiroe Swen’s work in 1968, when she was participating in an exhibition of leading ceramic artists in Australia at the NationalGallery of Victoria1,Melbourne, which was coincidentally her first exhibition in Australia...

Essay by Meredith Hinchliffe

Pastoral Gallery 1973-2003 : History

Cornel and Hiroe Swen built and ran the Pastoral Gallery on the outskirts of Queanbeyan, NSW. It was one of the earliest galleries run by artists. The gallery was highly respected and successful for thirty years….

Photo archive


Essay by Meredith Hinchliffe

Bio of Hiroe Swen

Hiroe Swen was born in Kyoto, Japan, in 1934. Since she was little, Hiroe was a curious and independent child. She remembers a day when she decided to skip kindergarten and went to play by the river with a friend.