Swastika Power

John Brophy painted this piece called "Let the power fall".
Before posting some art of John i had a short chat with him about his use of the swastika in his art.
John Brophy: First of all, I have to say that I do not use the Nazi swastika in my work. I use the Omote Manji, meaning love and mercy. This symbol appears frequently in Buddhism and in Jainism. In fact, I became familiar with it during the time I lived in Japan. You could find it on nearly every Buddhist temple. I realized that this was a commonly used symbol that had no connection to the German swastika and did not evoke that relationship in the minds of the Japanese.

Familiarity with certain symbols varies from culture to culture and because of the dominance of the Nazi image in the west, the traditional and peaceful representations of the manji have been pushed aside. So much so that for the vast majority of people in the west the knee-jerk response at seeing the Omote Manji is that it is a Nazi swastika. But because symbols are a kind of art that carry a specific meaning and are intentionally designed to be unambiguous and mean the same thing to everyone ( eg. a dollar bill, a STOP sign, etc), I feel that I can freely use the Omote Manji in my work in spite of the fact that some people will wrongly associate it with Nazism. The fact is, this is a symbol of love and mercy and these are the qualities I want to convey in my work.

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