Painted in 1995, the subject matter of this early work Sunny Day Holy Joy (Lot 103) by Yoshitomo Nara is truly unique and thought-provoking. At the time, he was studying in Germany and vigorously searching for his own artistic style. During that year, he painted numerous works with animals as characters, but majority of them are cats and dogs. It is why this painting that depicts a pink piglet is especially memorable.
The composition of this painting is akin to a tourist photograph. From this vantage point, it captures the grassland in foreground where the piglet stands, the placid blue sea, the golden sun in the sky, and the mushroom cloud rising from the surface of the sea. Holding a flower with his right hand, the piglet smiles gleefully, as if he is expecting the viewers who are holding their cameras to capture this unforgettable moment.
Sugar-coated with the style of child-like whimsy and pastel colours, this work conceals Yoshitomo Nara's profound reflection on history and humanity. The enormous mushroom cloud is larger than any clouds in the sky. I t is a sobering reminder of the pain of war. It is also an important symbol of hope and peace for the future. On a bright and sunny, perhaps humans have also become complacent like the ignorant piglet in the painting who has completely forgot ten the lessons of history. Yoshitomo Nara vehemently despises war, and through the work Sunny Day Holy Joy, he reminds us once again that only peace will bring lasting joy to humankind.