The news that seems to be making all the headlines in the UK right now is the DPRK Embassy in West London opening it’s doors to the public for the very first time. The very modest Embassy which is actually a converted seven bedroom semi-detached house has decided to let the public in for a very special art exhibition, the DPRK Fine Art Exhibition.
The Guardian reports:
David Heather, a Surrey-based art historian who acts as curator and gallerist for the show, said he had proposed the idea of an exhibition to North Korean officials in August, and was surprised at how quickly his suggestion had become a reality ~ The Guardian
The DPRK Fine Art Exhibition features oil paintings from state artists of the Mansudae Art Studio which is based in Pyongyang and where all images of North Korean leaders are produced. North Korean art is hard to find outside of it’s home country so this is a very very rare opportunity for many to see artwork all the way from North Korea.
For this exhibition, the following condition was also proposed by the curator David Heather, “that North Korean artists were given the opportunity to paint real-life scenes in London, and for those pieces to be part of the exhibition” which was surprising granted! And so a group of four North Korean artists visited the UK for the very first time. The Telegraph reports:
The men, who work from the country’s elite Mansudae studio – the artists’ collective specially chosen by Kim Jong-un, the Supreme Leader, to provide portraits of him and his family – spent two days observing London scenes. Having never visited the UK before, they took in the Thames, Trafalgar Square, Covent Garden and the National Gallery – sketching and taking photos as they went – The Telegraph
The Mansudae Art Studio was founded in November 1959 and today employs over 4000 people with over 700 being artists. The four artist chosen to make this very special trip for the exhibition are considered to be the country’s most accomplished oil painters: Jon Pyong-jin, Ho Jae-song, Hong Song-il and Kim Hun. Website NKnews.org had an interview with the four artists to talk about life at Mansundae Art Studio, a very interesting read – Link here.
This really might be a once in a life-time opportunity for us to step inside the gated DPRK Embassy and gain a little insight into North Korea. The paintings of London may depict very average scenes for us but it gives us a glimpse into how our way of life is viewed from a North Korean’s point of view. Of course being a state-run exhibition, what you see will no doubt be censored to a certain extent and has caused quite a bit of controversy, but an interesting and unique opportunity nonetheless.
Unfortunately this exhibition is only on for 4 days during the week from Tuesday 4 to Friday 7 November so KCM won’t be able to pay this exhibition a visit. But if you have the chance, it’s well worth a trip and don’t forget to tell us all about it!
DPRK Fine Art Exhibition
4–7 November 2014, 11am to 5pm
73 Gunnersbury Avenue,
Ealing, London W5 4LP
You can see a few photos from the exhibition on The Telegraph website.