While all art from North Korea is generally special, occasionally we separate items that we think deserve a category of their own.

As such, in this section we present each piece with a brief explanation of why we think it is particularly unique. All information about the pieces (such as metaphors, semiotics, etc.) are informed or confirmed by the artists themselves.

Item code: SP01

Jo Kwang Chul (조광철). 2017. 103cm × 77cm.
Oil on canvas.

This is a particularly great piece for foreign and Korean collectors alike. Ultimately, it depicts the Korean Peninsula through the lens of... lunch. Namely, fish.

Here, one can see that South Korea is already being cooked (by capitalism, US imperialism, etc.). One should also notice that, rather cheekily, all the produce is on the "northern side." More interesting however is the representation of the DMZa sharp knife separating the two fish. Notably, the knife points northwards, indicating Southern aggression.

The Peninsula is not complete without Jeju however, which takes the form of a smaller fish.

Item code: SP02

Choi Dae Sub (최대섭). 2018. 50cm × 79cm.
Oil on canvas.

This piece is particularly rare in that it shows a non-Korean landscape. It depicts Crocodile River in Kruger National Park, South Africa. Excluding decorative wall-pieces in various African museums built by Mansudae, this is the only known African landscape in North Korean art.

One can see a photograph of the view here, taken from a hotel balcony near where the photo which the artist worked from likely originated.

Item code: SP03

Unsigned. 2019.
Embroidery.

Quite likely the last image anyone would expect to come out of North Korea. This embroidery shows a Korean-esque recreation of da Vinci's Last Supper.

Perhaps most fascinatingly, the creator selected the image from a catalogue of renowned artworks, recreating it purely to display her technical skill. When asked about the piece, she showed no understanding of who the characters depicted were or of their relevance. As such, John (to the left of Jesus) has been depicted as a female.

Item code: SP04

Choo Hyun Myung (추현명). 2019. 65cm × 100cm.
Oil on canvas.

While anti-American sentiment is common in propaganda posters, it generally does not find its way into the finer arts as frequently. Here, it sneaks in through a clever metaphor. Two types of chickens (representing the North and South) are effectively gathered around a "watering hole," solving their issues.

The dogwhich has broken off its chainsymbolises the United States (a common anti-American slur in North Korea). The dog, while interfering with and disrupting the chickens' affairs, also seems to have his eye on the chickens' eggKorea's future/resources.

Item code: SP05

Park Young Ook (박영욱). 2015. 97cm × 122cm.
Oil on canvas.

Here, the dominating eagle represents none other than the Supreme Leader himself. This makes the symbolism quite interesting as eagles are generally associated with the United States (even within North Korean propaganda). One can see how the eagle is braving the harsh winds (notice the wingspread and the blowing tree in the bottom left) and the cold weather (notice the "smoke" coming from its nose) to guard over Korea.

Furthermore, the tree upon which the eagle is perched seems dead at firstexcept for the end where a young, fresh branch seem to growing. This painting was started in late 2014 (and completed in 2015), around the same time that Kim Jong Un properly solidified his power.

Item code: SP06 (left)

Chul Kun (철건). 2019. 57cm × 104cm.
Oil on canvas.

Item code: SP07 (right)

Yoo Jin (유진). 2019. 57cm × 104cm.
Oil on canvas.

Although from two different artists, in both works the waterfalls symbolise Korean unification—beginning separate but ultimately coming together. Yoo's climactic rapid further alludes to the notion of Korea being strongest when together.

Item code: SP08

Baek Chul (백철). 2018. 75cm × 169cm.
Oil on canvas.

This strange work depicts a community of squirrels (representing Koreans) coexisting, sharing nuts and drinking fresh water.

However, in the top right corner, hidden behind foliage, a darker, more ominous and notably different squirrel can be seen watching them. This squirrel represents "the enemy"who the enemy is, in this case, is unclear, however.

Item code: SP09

Unsigned. 2019.
Embroidery.

A recreation of Raphael's Madonna della seggiolastraight out of Pyongyang.

Item code: SP10

Unsigned. 2019.
Embroidery.

A recreation of da Vinci's Mona Lisastraight out of Pyongyang.

Item code: SP11

Unsigned. 2019.
Embroidery.

A recreation of Klimt's The Kissstraight out of Pyongyang.

Interested in purchasing?

If so, please fill out the contact form and indicate which piece(s) you are interested by referencing the item code(s)for example: "OL24; SP03..." We will get back to you as soon as we can!

Our clients come from a wide range of weird and wonderful places. However, each one of these places have their own rules and regulations that we need to check out first. As such, we find it far more effective to chat with you directly regarding the arrangement of payment andmore importantlyshipping. Also, this allows us to give you some background information on your piece(s)!

Alternatively, contact us directly at [email protected].