DPRK painters display creativity in Mudanjiang
Updated: 2013-08-09 10:27
By Zhou Huiying in Mudanjiang, Heilongjiang (China Daily)
Harbor for a Break, oil on canvas, by Kim Song-mu. Provided to China Daily
Kim Jacal, a 53-year-old oil painter from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, never thought he would have the chance to paint overseas.
Kim Jacal and another oil painter Jnun Hak arrived at Mudanjiang, a city in southeastern Heilongjiang, on July 20 from Pyongyang, capital of the DPRK.
They were invited to create oil paintings for about 20 days in "the creation base of the DPRK painters in China (Mudanjiang)", which was set up in 2011.
The base is the only one of its kind that the DPRK government set up overseas. It is used to create, exhibit and sell works of art from the DPRK.
Both painters graduated from Pyongyang Academy of Arts, which is the top academy of arts in the country.
In the DPRK, only those from "elite families" and who pass the rigorous selection process are qualified to enter the academy.
The bachelor degree for painting takes eight years, while oil painting takes seven years.
To commemorate the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Korean War (1950-53) armistice and the third anniversary of the foundation of the base, an exhibition of paintings from the DPRK was held from July 23 to Aug 6.
This is the largest exhibition of its kind in China with a total of 220 paintings of different styles on show.
Most of the paintings were created in the 1980s and 1990s, but there were also a few from before the 1980s.
There are several oil paintings by Son U-yong, an excellent oil painter who received the honor of painter of merit in 1989. But unfortunately he passed away suddenly in 2009, so the works he left have become more precious, says Cheng Wujun, the director of the base.
"For example, the painting named The Mountain Peak is valued at more than 200,000 yuan ($32,604)," he says.