A.I.A.S. Congress and Exhibition - Edition 2014


27th - 28th September 2014
National Exhibition of Suiseki  Arengo Palace
              Cavour Square - Rimini
   XVII A.I.A.S. Annual Congress 2014 Edition         

Report by Mrs.Daniela Schifano - Photo by Mr. Carlo Laghi

Photo Gallery Awarded Stones(requires Flash Player)                
Photo Gallery Other Stones(requires Flash Player)                

The annual meeting  of A.I.A.S. members  has gathered us in Rimini , thanks to the  commitment  of the  Romagna Bonsai Club which organized in an impeccable way  every moment of the A.I.A.S. Congress.  My first words are therefore for them , from the President Mr. Remo Cavalli to every Club’s member,  who have conjugated  professionalism  to that sincere friendliness  heat  which is typical of Romagna Region . We have enjoyed familiar and spontaneous welcome  but never  improvised: the venue of the Congress, the  stately Palace of the Arengo  just in the historical  town centre, could have caused some logistic problem, but  everything has  been  managed in a perfect  way, supplying at first punctual information  on how, where  and when  to arrive  and a practical well organized  help at our arrival, over all for the Saturday, when the weekly market of Rimini has blocked all accesses in Cavour Square  .                      

The friend Mr. Remo Cavalli , President of the Romagna Bonsai Club and A.I.A.S. member.      The entrance of the Arengo Palace   Cavour Square and the market

An earthily  thanks, therefore, from all  A.I.A.S. to our member  Mr. Remo Cavalli and to all his Club, it also  A.I.A.S. member , for  doing their utmost with no reserves for the success of  “our” Congress , our because  they  too also as A.I.A.S.  members .


The Palace of Arengo , venue of the Congress , is an ancient and  prestigious place. On left , the steep and solemn  flight of steps which leads to the Hall of the  first floor, where in the Middle Ages  the Rimini  People’s  Council  used to meet .  The huge hall , with   wooden beams ceiling  and adorned with large multi-lancet windows, has allowed to stage  an expositive space  which has   together  housed suiseki and bonsai : The stones registered by members and the Social Exhibition  of the Romagna Bonsai Club.


The suiseki  exhibited in the six categories  in contest were 88, with 50 members attending, but thanks  to  the pre-registration handled by our precious member  Mr. Carlo Laghi   during the previous week of the exhibition , the  recording operations  have been  rapid and accurate. The most part  of members has staged  in the  Friday afternoon but someone is arrived on Saturday  morning , even though  the difficulties caused  by the large market of Rimini. The opening ceremony and the tasty reception party  have opened officially the Congress works ”Passion, creativity and professionalism “ : with these words the president of the Malatestiana Bank , Mrs.  Enrica Cavalli , has defined the work arranged by the Romagna Bonsai Club, with  which the Bank is actively cooperating. Great was the admiration of   Remo in seeing a so numerous  members ‘attendance and stones arriving  even from far away countries, while the  AIAS President Mr. Luciana Queirolo, has hold  to emphasize as Romagna is “ the real heart of A.I.A.S. , its steady motor”.

The inevitable ribbon …   …cannot avoid the cut …   …. and the libations are not missing!

Forgive me if I do not give you a description of Rimini’s  beauties  and of its monuments, but the Congress was so rich of initiatives and of unlosable  meetings  to not allow me  to devote myself  to the cultural tourism  and to the beaches  which, thanks to the almost summer weather  should have granted   me sun, sea and relax !   
On Saturday afternoon, in facts, there has been the meeting  with the Korean suseok, thanks to Mr. Hong Eun Shik,  to his collection and to the daughter Miyuen,   graceful and  essential  support  for the translations.

“In Korea the suseok experienced the boom in the seventies, at that time an association could have even one million lovers ….. Now , is no longer so, and many Korean experts have eighty years  and have decided to sell their collection , even at reasonable prices. Many stones which you can see here  have this origin. The  suseok originates  from the Japanese one , in some seaports in the south Korea , thanks to the commerce with Japan , and therefrom  it expands in the whole Korea .On even  one thousand old  parchments  there are paintings which represent  stones but nothing has arrived to us of such a period. The first difference  with the Japanese suiseki  is in the pronunciation  of the two terms sui and seki , but even in the meaning of the word sui , which  in Korea has become “eternity”: so suseok means  stone of the eternity”.

 Mr.Hong and his son Miyuen    A very rare suseok    Different suseok typology

During this meeting many have been the  curiosities came out.  An important  feature of suseok  is its naturalness: the stone has not to be modified , worked or cut but neither cleaned with mechanical  tools, up to the extent that the only cleaning allowed is that arranged with toothbrushes.  Stones cleaned with other methods lose their value. There is however an exception : also in Korea there is a stone  similar to our palombino  and for it the cut and the alteration is allowed !

The Saturday was going towards its  most awaited conclusion, the gala dinner, the awarding  and the pleasant  raffle. This year   sole judge  has been appointed our Vice-President and National Instructor Mr. Marino Nikpal,  who has exhibited out of contest the stone “Enigma” , at right side in the photo .
We thank our judge  for the careful  evaluation  and for the availability in commenting the winning stones on  Sunday afternoon .  In addition, to those who have requested,  he has expressed his evaluation  on their  own stone or on its display. As in other editions , in the category of landscape stones  has been registered the bigger number of stones ,   well 44 , while the categories Biseki and Surface Pattern stones  were under-valued, respectively with only two or three stones registered  to which  , consequently,  only the first prize has been assigned .   The judge has then decided to assign  in addition  two third  ex-aequo prizes to the landscape stones. 


In addition  to the prestigious Trophy  and to the AIAS category prizes,  have been assigned the IBS Award  and the sponsoring UBI plate on judgement of IBS Instructors  Mr. Angelo Attinà and Mr. Ezio Piovanelli and of the UBI  Board member Mrs. Laura Monni. The awarding was  carried out during the gala dinner, and I offer you some images of the winners , between the surprise and the justifiable satisfaction.


Mr. Marino Nikpal awards Mr. Igor Carino, for his kamogawa-ishi winner of the AIAS Trophy.

  The Romagna Bonsai Club , with Mr. Remo Cavalli , receives the award for the best Object stone.   Mr. Ettore Gardini  receives the award for the best Landscape stone.
Mrs. Luciana Queirolo receives the award for the best Stone to admire   Also  this year Mr. Giuseppe De Vita proves himself winner of Biseki Category.   First Prize in the Multi-stand category for the new member Mr. Nguyen Hung Son, retires the award Mrs.Luciana Queirolo.
Mr. Santo Buratto receives the award for the best Pattern Stone   ….I … receive  the sponsoring UBI plate  by the UBI Board member Mrs. Laura Monni.   Remo receives the IBS award by the judges Mr. Attinà and Mr. Piovanelli for account of Mr. Piero Torsani.

And after the official photos, some free photos, at table, and of the pleasant raffle  which assigns the “unappreciated” stones  offered by  the members  as a prize   with a great democratic spirit!  Let us enjoy  to recognize ourselves….


A particularly touching moment : after so many years devoted to the A.I.A.S. (1997-2014)  as Founder member , President, Secretary and Board member , Mr. Vito Di Venere  for his familiar commitments  and over all  for his institutional appointment  in the ESA , has decided not to present again   himself as a candidate in the election of the new AIAS Board.

The A.I.A.S. takes note on resigning but…. the thanks of all comes from the heart and is realized  in a plate  and in the words of Mrs. Luciana Queirolo,  “with all the recognition of the stones people”. In the sphere  of the E.S.A. , we are sure Vito will go on his commitment  as a spreader of suiseki art  and as International  Witness of AIAS in Europe and in the world.


On Sunday morning  swallowed the abundant and tasty  Romagna gala dinner, we are ready to restart  with another day rich of events. 
Mr. Carlo Laghi  has already positioned prizes and plates , so the first act  almost due entering in the hall is to make the turn  of the stones exhibited to see them again, perhaps with other eyes , and to photograph them with the desired recognition. And moment of hilarities are not missing : Carlo immortalizes me  while  with the help of Felice Colombari  I am photographing  the stones,  with him  maintaining  the spotlights  in order to obtain the best illuminations….. but this year my faithful friend has  betrayed  me : a breakdown to the focussing  of the objective  has seriously  tested my patience.

At 10.30 hrs. the first voice in program: we have had the chance  to meet Mr. Sergio Biagi, affirmed bonsaist who is finding a new artistic season in realizing   tables for bonsai  and for suiseki.  From the initial question “What a table for a bonsai?”  he has  started to become fond of suiseki , and thanks to a methodical  and rational  research  he has in the time  selected  and realized  some models  which by style  and measurements better adapt themselves  to the exhibition  of our stones. Even starting from classical  Japanese model, he has modified them producing those which   Sergio  likes to define “ new tables and unic” and which so will remain. In the meeting of Sunday , in a pleasant talking , he has shown  to the  Congress ‘members  interested and over all    surprised   , as  alchemy  between  the table and the  stone  may  born even with shapes  and unusual  measures trough the proposal of many practical  examples.

These are his initial words of introduction :  "“I am coming from another world, in comparison  to yours , I am coming from the bonsai world….. to express oneself what there is of better than a white sheet of paper , where  to draw  or to write….. but if I have to draw a table for a  bonsai for me it is easy  while for a suiseki  for me it is much  difficult…..so my  necessity is arisen to understand what and how to draw…… but I have no stones at home  to try and so this project is born:  let us make some tables  and then we try the stones.”


He has so drawn  to every table  the so many stones previously selected , different for measures and shape. The attending  members of the congress have so had the opportunity to verify immediately  which table  could be the best  for a specific stone  and   at times the results  have been astonishing :  a table which on beginning could appear unfit  because too important  or too high showed itself  the ideal support  for a stone which succeeded to stand  the confrontation.

The meeting  has been very positive , in my opinion : the remarkable  number of models placed  at disposal by Sergio has tempted  the attending people to evaluate the return of the own stone , giving room to numerous  confrontations and debates in that respect.  After the didactics, the  work of the congress have continued  with the members’  general Assembly, this year with the elective tasks for the expected  renewal of the Board  members.  

As regards the Board , since the candidatures  were not superior  to the number of  Councillors requested by the Statute  it has not been necessary  to proceed to the elections  and so we welcome  Mr. Carlo Scafuri , President of the Napoli Bonsai Club  and UBI Councillor.

The Assembly was due to pronounce as regards the office of President  and with a great majority  Mrs.  Luciana  Queirolo  has been re-elected,  a vote welcome with a great and worm applause. 


In the subsequent meeting of the new Board, the President Mrs. Luciana  Queirolo has proposed the confirmation  of the previous Councillor  in the office of Vice-President , Secretary, and Treasurer who have accepted the proposed tasks.

Finally in the afternoon we could listen the evaluations of the judge  Mr. Marino Nikpal on the exhibition in general  and on the single stones to which a recognition  has been  assigned. 
Mr. Marino starts with a preamble of general order  :  “….. many stones exhibited in the Object Stone category were to be entered  among the Stones to be Contemplated, or even vice-versa. In these cases, unfortunately , I have been  obliged  to exclude the stone from granting a prize”.     

Many the suggestions furnished  by Marino even for the stones to which a prize has been assigned, because  there is however a margin of improvement , which can regard the table, the accompanying  element or even the poetical name. On the Japanese stones  which have been assigned a prize , he has liked to let us see also the bottom of the stone ,  in order to allow the bystanders to evaluate  with their own eyes if there were evident signs of alteration or cut.
The Romagna Bonsai Club  has put at disposal a plate  for the best suiseki , determined by the sole public vote. 

In the left  photo Mr. Remo Cavalli  delivers  the plate  to the winner  Mr. Claudio Villa,  and  at  right side the stone which received the preference  of the public “ Reflections of the moon  on the mountains “, which has also  obtained  the second prize in the Landscape Stone Category.


As always, a rather sad moment  arrives, that of the greetings , and in the general hurry some embrace is unfortunately missing.  The good-bye  has already been given : in Aversa, on October 2015 , among the friends of the Naples Bonsai Club, in the halls of the Monumental Building of San Francisco, and with an exceptional guest , as judge and lecturer, Mr. Thomas S.Elias,   current  B.C.I.  President ….. friends, I am waiting for  you numerous ! 

 Daniela Schifano

As always I close with a dutiful bow …..  the classic acknowledgement  to the winning stone of the A.I.A.S. Trophy 2014,  which has been granted to the landscape stone of Japanese origin  exhibited by the new member Mr.Igor Carino.

A.I.A.S. Trophy 2014


Landscape stone

of Mr. Igor Carino


(I thank Mr. Felice Colombari for some photos supplied for this report)
The suiseki who obtained the prizes for Category and UBI and IBS awards were:
"Landscape Stones" Category

1° prize to

Mr. Ettore Gardini

"Long way, to echo from the temple,  sweet rest"


2° prize to

Mr. Claudio Villa

"Reflections  of the moon on the mountains"



3° prize to

Mr. Felice Colombari

Without name


3° prize to

Mr. Ettore Gardini

"Autumn colours"


3° prize to
Mr. Primangelo Pondini
"The sea land"
"Shelves " Category

1° prize to

Mr. Nguyen Hung Son

"Far away countries, life runs equally"


2° prize to 
Mrs. Daniela Schifano
"In the garden of the tea house"

3° prize to

Mr. Sergio Bassi

 "Dreaming of  Lilliput"

"Object Stones" Category

1° prize to

Romagna Bonsai Club



2° prize to
Scuola Suiseki Do Groane
Without name


3° prize to

Mr. Renzo Rabitti

"The wayfarer"


"Biseki" Category 

1° prize to

Mr. Giuseppe De Vita

"The universe"


"Pattern Stones" Category

1° prize to 

Mr. Santo Buratto

"A wing-stroke  accompanies my steps"


"Stones to admire" Category

1° prize to
Mrs. Luciana Queirolo

"Under the wing of a minor  god "


2° prize to

Mr. GianLuigi Enny

"A disturbing profile"

 3° prize to
Mr. Carlo Laghi
"Points of view"
"I.B.S. Plaque" Award
Judges : I.B.S. Istructors Mr. Angelo Attinà and Mr. Ezio Piovanelli

Mr.Piero Torsani

"Landscape Stones" Category

"Over the dunes"


"U.B.I. Plaque" Award
Judge : UBI Board member Mrs. Laura Monni

Mrs. Daniela Schifano

"Shelves" Category

"In the garden of the tea house "