Friday Fun: Some new North Korean art

Although the Korea-watching world is focused on Tongchang-ri at the moment, I thought I would offer a mild distraction this Friday with some rarely-see-by-the-outside-world North Korean art. (A big thanks to a reader for these).

On display in the Mansudae Art Studio (the DPRK’s premier art studio) at this very minute, “The girl with the cell-phone”:

Click image for larger version

And below we have a painting from a book on the art exhibition on the 65th birthday of the Korean Worker’s Party.  The painting is called “Sarangeui jib” (English title: “House of affection”):

Click image for larger version

I bet the painter was a man.

Blogging has been light as I try to clear a big project from my plate. I will play catch up on Tonchang-ri, SPA, KWP , and Google Earth this weekend.

For an additional smile, KCNA has an article today titled, “North Korea Launches Satellite of Love”.

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  • Hello,
    I have been reading your site, and others, for a while. I am sort of an amateur student of history, at least an observer I guess. It seems that North Korea’s recent actions, such as increasing sorties of their Air Force among others is a sign that they might attack South Korea again. I think reneging on the deal that would have provided 240,000 tons in food aid is a dead give away.

    This hypothetical or possible coming attack could be done one of several ways. I do not think it will be a rerun of the Cheonan or of Yeongpyeong. I think the new Kim (Kim3?) wants to look like a war hero to his regime.

    This is all about internal consumption, PR, in North Korea. It always is when a country is a third world backwater with a strongman government. I actually surmise that the Kim regime has only lasted this long because South Korea’s response to provocations and attacks is so limited as to actually empower the North.

    How many North Koreans saw a South Korean response to Cheonan or Yeongpyeong or even to Korean Air flight 858 or the 1996 incursion of the midget submarine. Sure those guys were hunted down, but how many people in NK saw anything at all?

    Like I said, its all about internal stability and consumption of propaganda in North Korea and South Korea’s response (very likely to be limited as the US/UN call for restraint) could very well give Kim3 exactly what he wants: Legitimacy as a military leader.

    The South Korean government has the ability to repond in a way that would weaken the Kim regime and make it lose face domestically. The response to say an artillery barrage against northern Seoul should not be an artillery barrage against artillery sites along the DMZ. The response should be something that can be seen and recognized by the citizens of North Korea. Something that could seriously weaken the Kim dynasty, loss of face.

    The South must be prepared, pre-planned, to launch cruise missiles to take out government buildings in Pyongyang and other cities. Communist Party headquarters, KCNA, radio stations, radio jamming (and be ready to broadcast into NK on their own frequencies), favorite palaces of the Kim family etc. Make it where the average person in the city can see the damage, even if very limited, for themselves.

    This will weaken the North Korean slave empire government more than anything. It will hit them where it really hurts. It can even be done almost as soon as the first NK shells begin hitting SK territory. Long before the US and UN are calling for restraint.

    This is what SHOULD happen. I fear it won’t. I fear the response will once again embolden and empower the North Korean government.

  • Neil Robinson

    ” Satellite of Love”

    That was a Lou Reed song !!!

  • Interesting paintings. While it is extremely realistic, the picture of the bar scene is not exactly the photo-realism that you see from usual Mansudae Art Studio oil paintings. The paintings are also much less propagandist than what we normally see from those types of paintings. 

  • Nkeconwatch

    That is correct Mr. Brown.  The lower photo is from a book and the painting is of the interior of the Kyonghung Restaurant. This is, as far as I am aware, the largest beer hall in Pyongyang.

  • Dear Mr. Brown,

    You are correct. The lower painting is from a book, not the Mansudae Art Studio.  I believe the lower painting is of the interior of the Kyonghung Restaurant (경훙관), which is, as far as I am aware, Pyongyang’s largest beer hall.

  • Mieu

    hi curtis,

    I come to your website everyday, but sometimes I found that many articles popping out in just a day after a few days of no articles, but these new articles all have different date from each other. Is this a connection problem from my side (I live in the middle kingdom) or is it what you have intended?

  • Girl with cell phone…. defect and come here. lol.

  • Joseph
  • Anonymous

    The reflection of the barmaid in House of Affection might be a rip-off of/homage to Edouard Manet’s A Bar at the Folies-Bergère.

    If so, the North Korean artist has seen fit to correct the decadent old French painter who painted the bar straight on, where the barmaid’s reflection ought to be hidden behind her. 🙂

  • Thanks for clarifying, Curtis. I really enjoy seeing these “less propagandist” pictures that don’t seem geared towards making money. If you find more, I’d love to see them.

    Thanks for the links, Joseph. Can you tell us more about the pottery studio?


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