Sunrise 2011: the Suns of the World for Japan

Sunrise 2011 is a collaborative work of art created and curated by artist Drue Kataoka. In the wake of the Japanese earthquake, she invites everybody to participate in this artistic tribute to Japan by e-mailing a photo of the sun over their city to Drue is collecting suns from around the world and building one big sun (see below). Superimposed is her painting of Japan's Sun Goddess, Amaterasu, the mother of Japan. Sunrise 2011 is a tribute to international solidarity with Japan after the tragic earthquake, and to the enduring Japanese spirit. [pls scroll down]

Sunrise 2011 image by Drue Kataoka

The Myth of Japan's Sun Goddess Amaterasu

According to legend, the beautiful goddess of the sun, Amaterasu is the mother to the nation of Japan. But, generous and benevolent as she was, she was also proud and feisty. One day, she had a bitter dispute with her violent brother Susanoo-- god of death, the underworld, the sea and storms. Because of this dispute, Amaterasu hid from the world in a cave. Without her, the world descended into darkness and gloom. All the other gods gathered at the entrance, trying to coax Amaterasu to come out. Eventually, they convinced her to step out of the cave, and light and happiness returned to the world.

The Tragedy

At 05:46:23 UTC on March 11 2011, Japan experienced the Tohoku earthquake, one of the most devastating earthquakes in recorded history. Within minutes of the mega-tremor, a tsunami rushed 10 km (6 mi) inland, devastating large parts of North-Eastern Japan. As a result, reactors in the Fukushima 1 and the Fukushima 2 nuclear plants experienced serious technical failures. Nuclear power, which energizes the sun, threatened a third wave of devastation onto the Land of the Rising Sun.

Japan and the Suns of the World

In the wake of the disaster, Drue Kataoka, a Japanese-born artist trained in the 2000-year old art form of Sumi-e, created Sunrise 2011, a collaborative artistic tribute to international solidarity with Japan's experiences, and a tribute to the enduring Japanese spirit.

The base of the artwork is a painting of Amaterasu, Japan's sun goddess. She does not face us, but she is about to turn back around and rise, more radiant, beautiful and inspirational than ever.

The background of the painting is a composite "sun," created from dozens of suns submitted to Drue from people around the world. It is a collaborative image that is cosmic, jarring and inspirational, carrying good wishes from many countries.

All over the world, we share the same sun, yet we see it differently. Sunrise, high noons, sunsets-- cloudless or cloudy, smoggy or clear. Drue arranges the pieces according to the similarity of textures and colors, and the artistic message conveyed. The south-east part of the piece represents a giant global sunrise-- Sunrise 2011.

Invitation to Participate in Sunrise 2011

Drue invites everybody to send their digital photo of the sun to, with the location where their sun was photographed (city + country) and the name of the submitter in the message Subject. In the email, you are welcome (but not required) to share a message about Amaterasu, the disaster in Japan, Sunrise 2011 or the sun's beauty and vital power.

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