April 16, 2024
Opinion

Book Review: Exploring North Korean Arts

In conclusion, this is a highly recommended read

Does North Korea produce art outside of and yet on the side of the official propaganda? Indeed it does, and why wouldn't it? Like any other country, North Korea needs to build and preserve a lasting image of itself, creating values that its citizens can look up to and be inspired by. Had it not done so over the last six decades it simply could not have survived as a sovereign country. If the DPRK’s artistic production in itself is not surprising, we should perhaps ask ourselves what sort of art can be produced in a country as peculiar as North Korea and what the relationship between art, politics, ideology and the people is.

Some of the answers to these questions can be found in the collected volume “Exploring North Korean Arts,” edited by Rudiger Frank and published in 2011 by the University of Vienna. The book fills a long-standing gap in English-language literature on North Korea. Fascinating as it is, North Korean art remains largely overlooked by non-Korean speakers.

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