11″ x 14″ Rising Sun, acrylic inks on bristol, ©2020 Jenn Miller
This has been my most controversial piece to date. The Rising Sun is a symbol adopted by Japanese warlords during the Edo period and later used by the Imperial Navy. It has since been adopted as a symbol of luck and fortune in Japan and is used on many products (Asahi beer) and on restaurant menus etc. Some Koreans have decided it is offensive to look at, particularly in the past decade during times of hyper social sensitivity. One person even posted on my social pages comparing it to a swastika, which I vehemently disagree with.
To me, this piece is about rebirth.
I began drawing this one in 2019 after collecting a serving dish from an estate sale of a former (US) Navy serviceman who had acquired it somewhere in Southeast Asia. The hand painting on the dish is stunning. I thought it would be beautiful to repurpose this old dish into a modern painting with blooming Spring flowers. I went a step further and added a mandala in the background which resembles the rising sun flag from Japan in addition to modifying colors and details to convey a positive meaning.
I realize a small group of people may be offended by this work, but it is too beautiful and appreciated by others to destroy it. Take it as you will; beauty is in the eye of the beholder.