North Korea’s Art Factory Has an International Fan Base
Did the Hermit Kingdom’s Soviet-style Kim Jong-il statue catch your eye? You’re in luck! The art studio-cum-propaganda factory is taking international orders.
There are a lot of things North Korea is known for—threats of missile strikes, visits from Dennis Rodman, collecting tourist hostages, the list goes on. Art, however, is not something that typically comes to mind.
In addition to the nationalistic portraits and landscapes that decorate the homes and buildings across the Hermit Kingdom, Mansudae Art Studio, a propaganda factory based in Pyongyang, has been supplying African, Asian, and European countries with monumental bronze statues. These colossal sculptures reportedly include the Heroes Acre war monument in Namibia, the rebuilt Fairy Tale Fountain in Germany, and a 160-foot-tall bronze African Renaissance Monument in Senegal, as reported by artnet News.
The statue, which was completed in 2010, is the brainchild of former president Abdoulaye Wade, whose 12-year rule was mostly plagued by corruption. Marking the 50th anniversary of Senegal’s freedom from France, the bare-chested man holding a baby on one arm while guiding a partially clothed woman with the other symbolizes the end of an era of colonialism and slavery.
The price tag was a bit steep, costing the country around $27 million, and a bit controversial seeing as the state of Senegal’s economy was far from stable. Wade wasn’t even able to pay. Instead, he offered the North Korean government a parcel of land, which they accepted. After all, the company—which employs 4,000 hand-picked employees—has reportedly reaped in revenue upwards of $160 million.
So, if you’re in need of some Soviet-style propaganda art, head on over to North Korea. Just don’t forget to download the North Korean Travel App first.