Saturday, February 21, 2009

Defected North Korean Artist

Here's an interesting read.

Sun Mu, who was trained to create posters and murals for the Communist government, is the first defector from the North to have won fame as a painter in the South by applying that same propagandistic style to biting parodies of the North Korean regime.
I would like to see the one described in this passage.

Sun Mu’s paintings have also depicted his own fearful journey across the river border into China in 1998, and the plight of a shackled North Korean defector who was repatriated to North Korea from the same Laotian prison where he himself was detained before proceeding on to Thailand and eventually to South Korea.
But he seems to be focusing on one of his others series'.

So far, however, his signature work has been the “Happy Children” series, with its relentlessly smiling North Korean youngsters. The smile has been variously interpreted by commentators as grotesque, a joke on the collectivism of North Korea, or a mask to hide the helplessness many North Koreans feel.
Here are a few of my favorites...

I especially like the baby drinking the unknown red liquid. It's titled "What are the feeding me? I think that one expresses his experiences in the North the best.

As he says, “They teach you how to smile that regimented smile — there’s a certain way to shape your mouth,” he said. “We children thought we were happy. We didn’t realize that our smile was fabricated and manufactured.”